Emory Report
August 31, 2009
Volume 62, Number 2

Protection tips

From early September to mid-October, more than 20 flu shot clinics for common seasonal influenza will be offered on campus for students, faculty and staff.

Times and locations will be posted at these sites:

• www.emory.edu/flu

• Faculty Staff Assistance Program

• Student Health and Counseling Services.

Seasonal flu shots are available for free or at low cost for all faculty, staff and students.

Along with annual vaccinations, Emory community members are encouraged to limit the spread of illness by:

• Getting proper rest, nutrition and exercise.

• Covering coughs and sneezes with a tissue and immediately disposing of it. If a tissue is not available, use an elbow or upper arm, but not the hand.

• Avoid touching the eyes, nose or mouth as viruses can spread this way.

• Avoid contact with those who are sick.




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August 31, 2009
The new flu: Are you prepared?


With the nation preparing for a second wave of H1N1 influenza, formerly known as the swine flu, Emory health officials are urging students, faculty and staff to get their regular flu shot early this year and practice good hygiene.

“Probably the most important element about management of a pandemic is communication,” says Alexander Isakov, executive director of Emory’s Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR).
The University has launched a Web site, www.emory.edu/flu, to inform the community about general precautions to stem the spread of the H1N1 flu strain. The site will be updated as indicated by the rapidly evolving situation. University health officials took their message to parents at student orientation earlier this month.

The H1N1 flu strain, which first appeared in April in the U.S. and Mexico, has been declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization. Unlike the seasonal flu, H1N1 is a new strain with the majority of cases occurring in people ages 5 to 24.

At present, the severity of novel H1N1 is reported to be on par with the common seasonal flu, Isakov notes. Symptoms are similar and may include fever, cough, sore throat and body aches. But like any new flu strain, H1N1 has the ability to mutate, says Isakov. Those who exhibit flu-like symptoms are urged to stay home and avoid contact with others until 24 hours after the fever is down without the use of medication, says Student Health Services Executive Director Michael Huey. Under current policy, staff can use accrued sick leave.

While a vaccine for H1N1 is not yet available, Emory is on the front line of flu research. Emory University Hospital treated Georgia’s first confirmed case of H1N1, and the campus is one of eight sites nationwide conducting clinical trials to evaluate the H1N1 vaccine’s safety. The University operates, in cooperation with the University of Georgia, the Influenza Pathogenesis & Immunology Research Center, where researchers aim to improve diagnosis, prevention and treatment of flu viruses.

Beginning in late fall, it is expected that the federal government will begin to distribute limited quantities of the novel H1N1 vaccine to target populations, including people ages 5 to 24, health care workers, pregnant women and caretakers of children less than 6 months old. The vaccine is expected to be given in a two-dose series, with doses a minimum of 21 days apart. Persons will need a total of three flu shot doses this fall to be protected from both seasonal and H1N1 flu. Students up to age 24 are among the priority groups identified by the CDC to receive the novel H1N1 vaccine, as are health care workers.

Others should visit www.cdc.gov/flu or www.emory.edu/flu to get updates about who will have access to the H1N1 vaccine as it becomes available. Target groups for the new vaccine will be determined by local, state and federal public health agencies, says Isakov. A team from the University and health system will meet regularly to provide updates on how the flu is affecting the community.

In the meantime, the University has more doses of the common seasonal flu shot on hand than at any time in history. This year, campus vaccination clinics will begin in September instead of mid-October.

“This is not a year when you want to be susceptible to a flu that can be prevented,” says Huey.
“The difficult flu season ahead is an opportunity for our community to show its strength,” adds Isakov. “Working together we can all contribute toward lessening the flu’s impact this fall and winter.”