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Chancellor Issues Message About Swine Flu

UCSF and medical center officials continue to monitor reports about the outbreak of HINI influenza A (swine flu), says Chancellor Mike Bishop, MD, who sent an email update to the campus community on May 5.

“To date at UCSF, there have been two probable cases for which confirmatory results are still pending,” Bishop wrote. “Infection control personnel have made contacts with individuals who might have been exposed and provided instructions about what to do if they develop symptoms.”

For its part, UCSF Occupational Health Services released answers to frequently asked questions, which is posted on UCSF Today.

Meanwhile, UCSF deactivated its Emergency Operations Center (EOC) and the UCSF Medical Center deactivated its Hospital Command Center. San Francisco Department of Emergency Management deactivated the City EOC as well. The San Francisco Department of Public Health Departmental Operations Center continues to be activated, according to Christopher Jones, associate director of Homeland Security & Emergency Management at the UCSF Police Department.

Both medical center and UCPD officials will continue to monitor reports by the World Health Organization, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and state and local reports on the influenza outbreak.

Campus and medical center experts from infection control, student and occupational health and risk management will continue to maintain active influenza outbreak services and surveillance.

The full text of the Chancellor’s message is below.

Dear Colleagues:

I write to assure you that UCSF is suitably mobilized in response to the emergence of influenza A(H1N1), commonly known as “swine flu” — a term that public health authorities prefer not to use because of misapprehensions it can create.  Campus and medical center leadership are working together to monitor developments related to influenza A(H1N1) on a daily basis, and are in regular contact with federal, state and local public health officials.

At present, it remains unclear whether this illness will develop into a significant public health threat.  The symptoms of influenza A(H1N1) in U.S. cases have been typical of standard seasonal influenza and not a more severe illness.  The various alerts from state, federal and international agencies featured in the media are intended to foster preparedness, not to signify dire circumstances.

As of Monday, May 4, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) had identified 279 confirmed cases of influenza A(H1N1) in humans in the U.S., and more than 700 “probable” cases.  To place these numbers in perspective, consider that standard seasonal influenza typically produces in excess of 30,000 cases per annum in the U.S.  Meanwhile, the outbreak in Mexico appears to have been significantly smaller than originally reported, the number of new cases is declining, no deaths have been reported since last Wednesday, and the public alert against the virus has been lowered.

To date at UCSF, there have been two probable cases for which confirmatory results are still pending.  Infection control personnel have made contacts with individuals who might have been exposed and provided instructions about what to do if they develop symptoms.

Public health authorities recommend taking the following precautions in order to reduce your risk of getting sick or spreading infection if you are ill:

  • 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 frequently with soap and warm water for at least 20 seconds, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, stay home and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

Health care professionals are in the best position to determine if you need influenza testing.  If you develop flu-like symptoms (high fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea), contact your primary care doctor immediately. Students on campus should contact Student Health Services.  But try to avoid unwarranted visits to health care providers.

The campus will share further developments and any measures they might require with the UCSF community in a timely and accessible manner. Updates on influenza A(H1N1) are posted on UCSF Today.  Additional information is available at:  http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/.

Related Link:

FAQ on HINI Influenza A (Swine Flu)