From Dr. Rita Wutoh, Director, Henry Wise Wellness Center
Human cases of Swine Influenza A are caused by a H1N1 Type A Influenza virus infecting pigs. This is a new virus strain never seen before in the United States or internationally. Swine Influenza is a respiratory disease of pigs, but the disease has been infecting humans over the past two weeks. There are confirmed cases both in the U.S. and internationally. As of this morning there have been no confirmed cases in Maryland. However, there are 20 confirmed cases in the United States. There have been no deaths reported in the United States so far; but there have been 103 deaths in Mexico to date.
Bowie State University has a Pandemic Flu Emergency Plan and the university will be in contact with the local health department in terms of school closings if necessary. We will meet with campus officials to determine our readiness in case of an outbreak. Many plans have been in place for the Pandemic Flu for some time now and we will model our Swine Flu plan after the establish model and in consultation with other professionals.
Signs and symptoms include high fever, sudden dizziness, nausea, fatigue, body aches, cough, vomiting, runny nose and sore throat. If you have these symptoms, seek medical care as soon as possible. It is important to seek attention to avoid life-threatening complications.
What You Can Do to Stay Healthy:
There are everyday actions people can take to stay healthy.
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze or touch doors. Wash hands for 20 seconds. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing and hand shaking of infected people. If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them. For more information please contact the health center at 301-860-4170.