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Update: UTSA continues to monitor H1N1 virus

By Tim Brownlee
Assistant Director of Public Affairs

(Updated 1 p.m., July 15, 2009)--In June, the World Health Organization declared H1N1 (“swine flu”) a global pandemic.  Currently, the H1N1 virus is circulating in 121 countries, including the United States, and health officials are particularly monitoring its prevalence in the Southern Hemisphere, which will experience the start of its flu season in late July.

On July 9, the U.S. government announced that an H1N1 vaccine would be ready for distribution in mid-October.  It also indicated that the vaccine should first be administered to the most susceptible individuals, including children, teens, pregnant women, the elderly, individuals with chronic health conditions and health care workers.

The health and safety of the UTSA community is our university’s utmost concern.  As long as the H1N1 virus continues to be a public health concern, UTSA officials will monitor its spread and keep the UTSA community updated on what is taking place. For example, UTSA’s housekeeping staff is monitoring soap dispensers in campus restrooms to ensure an ample supply.

At this time, all UTSA campuses (Main, Downtown and HemisFair Park) are remaining open and are operating on a regular schedule.

Read a UTSA Today story regarding Office of Human Resources procedures if time off is needed.

To obtain updated information about H1N1, visit the government’s new dedicated H1N1 virus Web site, http://www.flu.gov.

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Travel

  • According to a May 20 memo from UT System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa, travel to Mexico can resume with conditional approvals at each UT System institution based on review of the purpose of the trip, the types of activities planned, the number of confirmed H1N1 flu cases in the region and other criteria.
  • UTSA faculty members planning to travel with students to Mexico in the summer or fall 2009 semesters must request travel through Julius Gribou, UTSA executive vice provost, senior international officer and interim chief information officer, at (210) 458-4110.
  • International SOS is a free medical and security assistance program to assist travelers in situations ranging from medical emergencies to security evacuations. (Download a memo on International SOS procedures.)
  • Anyone planning international travel should check with the U.S. Department of State for updated advisories.

General flu precautions

  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.
  • Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough; cough or sneeze into a tissue and dispose of used tissues. Wash your hands after sneezing or coughing.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid others with respiratory illnesses.
  • Practice other good health habits: eat nutritious foods, get plenty of rest, exercise, manage your stress and drink plenty of fluids.
  • If you are sick, stay home to avoid spreading illness to others.
  • Visit a doctor if you exhibit flu-like symptoms.

Exposure and symptoms
The infectious period for confirmed cases of swine flu is one day before the onset of illness to seven days after the onset of illness. Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of seasonal flu:

  • fever of greater than 100 degrees
  • sore throat
  • cough
  • stuffy nose
  • chills
  • headache and body aches
  • fatigue

Some people with swine flu also have reported diarrhea and vomiting. As with seasonal flu, anyone with underlying chronic medical conditions may be more seriously impacted by swine flu.

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