There is ongoing discussion in the media concerning a flu pandemic. History teaches us that we should expect and prepare for a global flu pandemic. St. Ambrose University, in cooperation with the Scott County Health Department, is in the process of developing a plan which will assist us in our efforts to protect the safety and well-being of our campus community.
St. Ambrose University's Safety Committee is providing overall guidance, engaging departments across campus in the development of specific plans for the protection of our community. We hope the members of our campus community will use these resources to learn about pandemic flu in order to develop departmental and individual plans which will help us take care of one another in such a crisis, whenever it strikes.
Novel H1N1 Flu (referred to as "swine flu" early on) is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This new virus was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread. On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a pandemic of novel H1N1 flu was underway.
Avian (or bird) flu is caused by influenza viruses that occur naturally and commonly among wild birds. The H5N1 variant has been the focus of concern in recent years. Avian influenza infection in domestic poultry causes two main forms of disease;
Pandemic flu refers to a virulent human flu that causes a global outbreak (or pandemic) of serious illness. A flu pandemic occurs when a new influenza virus emerges for which people have little or no immunity, and for which there is no vaccine. The disease spreads easily from person to person, causes serious illness, and can sweep across a country and around the world in a very short time.
Seasonal (or common) flu or influenza is a respiratory illness that can be transmitted easily from person to person. Influenza types A or B viruses cause epidemics of disease almost every winter. In the United States, seasonal flu epidemics can cause illness in 10% to 20% of people and are associated with an average of 36,000 deaths and 114,000 hospitalizations per year. Though most people have some immunity, getting a flu shot is recommended for people at high risk of complications and for anyone who wants to reduce the chance of getting the flu. (See information about flu and flu vaccines.)
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the American College Health Association recommend that students and staff at college and universities (especially those who share close quarters) consider getting the flu vaccine.
The flu (influenza) is highly contagious and spreads by contact with the oral and nasal secretions of others who have been infected. We recommend the following advice about what you need to do to stay healthy.
Your ability to stay healthy and to respond effectively will depend in part on your advance planning. If a pandemic occurs, the university may have to evacuate for some period of time. If classes are suspended and campus is closed, residence hall students may be expected to leave campus within 24 hours so that they can travel safely to be with loved ones before major disruptions occur with the nation's communications, transportation and financial systems. To make sure you are ready to respond, think through your personal emergency plan and address the following considerations:
In addition, the Iowa Department of Public Health has provided the following website, Protect Iowa Health, to assist you in developing a plan in the event of an emergency, assembling an emergency supply kit which will need to be checked periodically and restocked as needed, and creating a list of important phone numbers.