Universities, like schools, are ground zero for flu epidemics, so I’m glad to see that the U is taking reasonable steps.
With the fall semester ready to
begin, we would like to update you about H1N1 influenza and the university’s
preparation for the upcoming semester. The university’s H1N1 decision team has
met on a regular basis during the summer and has remained in close contact with
the local and state health departments in preparation for the possibility of an
increase in cases when school begins.
Over the last several weeks, H1N1
flu has occurred in the South Florida area and at the University of Miami,
mostly among children and young adults. The majority of cases have been mild to
moderate in severity, and many have not required medical care for
diagnosis or treatment. Individuals with influenza-like illnesses (defined
by the Florida Department of Health as fever, temperature of 100°F [37.8°C] or
greater and cough and/or a sore throat) are advised to remain at home until at
least 24 hours after they are free of fever, which is 3 to 5 days in most
cases. This guidance does not apply to health care settings where the
exclusion period should be continued for 7 days from symptom onset or until the
resolution of symptoms, whichever is longer.
Household members and other close
contacts have been urged to follow these same recommendations if symptoms
develop, and to seek information about medical care and isolation from the
Student Health Service or other medical providers. Classes and activities have
not been cancelled and services have not been interrupted.
Students have received periodic updates via Ibis
News, and new
students and their parents will receive additional information during
As long as cases continue in our
community, students with symptoms of an influenza-like illness will be advised
to self isolate according to the CDC
guidelines. Currently, students are
being asked to contact the Student Health Service for medical advice. If cases
become more common, those with severe symptoms or with underlying health
conditions will be asked to contact the Student Health Service or other medical
providers, however others may self diagnose and require no specific
treatment. In the event of a widespread outbreak self reporting may be
the predominant form of notification and not all students will have
documentation of their illness. Students who are unable to attend class
will be asked to contact faculty or their designee via e-mail. Faculty may
choose to establish an alternative method of communication, and if so, should
advise their students at the start to the semester.
Faculty with flu symptoms should
seek medical advice and treatment from their own health care providers, adhere
to CDC self
isolation recommendations, and abide by recommendations of
and Human Resources.
It is predicted that most cases
of H1N1 flu will be mild to moderate in severity and self-limited; however, more
severe cases may occur. In order to minimize the impact of this situation
on our community, we encourage you to refer to the information on the CDC, Miami-Dade County Health
websites and abide by appropriate recommendations.
If you have any specific
questions, please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call (305) 284-5921. We
wish everyone a healthy and productive semester.
Howard Anapol, M.D., Director, Student Health Service
William S. Green, Senior Vice Provost and Vice President for Student Affairs
Patricia A. Whitely, Dean for Undergraduate Education
I’ll have to emphasize to the 1Ls that they really should stay home if they have a fever.