Office of the Vice President for Global Communications

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

From the Record Update

U-M responds to swine flu outbreak

La Universidad responde a el brote de gripe porcina
umich.edu/Es/news/09/pr090429-1.php

In response to the growing concern over the swine flu outbreak, the university has taken a number of specific steps over the last few days, including reaching out to students from Mexico who may have family members coming to Ann Arbor this week, as the academic year draws to close. Spring commencement ceremonies are scheduled for Saturday at Michigan Stadium.

In an e-mail message sent to students from Mexico, university officials pledged to help those students get the best information possible so they can make informed travel decisions.

Some units also have canceled upcoming trips to Mexico, even before President Mary Sue Coleman called Tuesday for a temporary suspension of all university-sponsored travel to Mexico, pending further developments in the outbreak in the United States and abroad. A small number of students already in Mexico are being encouraged to return to the United States at their earliest opportunity.

The president’s directive came after a briefing from U-M Chief Health Officer Dr. Robert Winfield, and Dr. Sandro Cinti, a U-M infectious disease expert and associate professor of internal medicine.

The university’s actions are consistent with guidelines issued Monday afternoon by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which recommended that U.S. travelers avoid all nonessential travel to Mexico.

“It is important to emphasize that there is no imminent danger from swine flu to public health at the University of Michigan,” says Winfield, director of the University Health Service. He emphasized the situation is evolving and university officials are closely monitoring developments.

Other steps the university has taken over the last few days and recommendations from leaders include:

• Health care providers within the U-M Health System and at University Health Service have increased their surveillance of patients with flu-like symptoms.

• Chief Health Officer Winfield has convened a group of U-M officials from all aspects of campus to monitor the swine flu outbreak and make recommendations for specific actions. The diverse group includes U-M medical personnel, public health and infectious disease experts, academic officers, public safety, emergency management, international studies, communications and a representative of the Washtenaw County Health Department.

• Faculty, staff or students who experience flu-like symptoms are being encouraged to use their sick days and stay home from work to keep other from getting sick. Flu-like symptoms are defined as a fever of 100 F (37.8 C) or higher, runny nose, cough and respiratory congestion.

• Faculty, staff or students who experience flu-like symptoms and have traveled to Mexico in the last seven days or have been exposed to someone with the flu in the last seven days, are urged to seek treatment from their regular health care provider.

• The U-M activated its pandemic influenza response plan, which was developed three years ago in response to the potential outbreak of avian flu. The university moved from phase “green” to phase “yellow” on Monday. The steps taken so far are consistent with the heightened level of awareness.

• Extra precautions are being taken for commencement exercises this week at all three U-M campuses. Hand sanitizing stations will be added to commencement programs that include hand shaking and a first aid station will be added for the main ceremony Saturday morning at Michigan Stadium.

• Provost Teresa Sullivan and Chief Health Officer Winfield sent an e-mail message Monday to faculty, staff and students at all three campuses outlining the steps the university was taking to monitor the situation and advising against travel to Mexico.

• The University has created two Web sites to provide information related to the outbreak of swine flu:

Information on the U-M response to the swine flu outbreak is available at: www.umich.edu/flu-swine.php

Information for patients and visitors to U-M medical facilities is available at: www.med.umich.edu/flu


Previous messages:

U-M takes further steps related to swine flu outbreak
www.ur.umich.edu/0809/Apr27_09/25.php

An important message about swine flu from Provost Sullivan and Chief Health Officer Dr. Winfield to the university community
www.ur.umich.edu/0809/Apr27_09/18.php