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News Release

Office of News and Information
Johns Hopkins University
901 South Bond Street, Suite 540
Baltimore, Maryland 21231
Phone: 443-287-9960 | Fax: 443-287-9920

April 27, 2009
CONTACT: Dennis O'Shea

A Message to the University Community on Swine Flu

Dr. Gabor D. Kelen, director of the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response, sent a broadcast e-mail message to Johns Hopkins University faculty, students and staff on Monday, April 27, regarding actions being taken across Johns Hopkins — both the university and the Health System — in response to the emergence of a swine flu virus in Mexico, part of the United States and elsewhere. Here is the text of that message.

Dear Johns Hopkins Faculty, Staff and Students:

In response to growing concerns over the swine flu outbreak in the United States, and out of an abundance of caution, the Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response (CEPAR), The Johns Hopkins University, Johns Hopkins Hospital Epidemiology and Infection Control (HEIC), and the Johns Hopkins Health System have implemented certain precautions. We are monitoring the situation closely and working with federal, state and local public offices.

As you probably know from the news media, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has been tracking cases of feverish respiratory illness caused by swine influenza (H1N1) viruses, and on Sunday evening declared a public health emergency with 20 confirmed cases in the United States. These cases are in California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and New York City.

Maryland has no confirmed or suspected novel influenza A (swine flu) cases reported at this writing. However, Johns Hopkins' first priority is the safety and care of patients and visitors, health care workers, staff and students.

The aggressive steps already taken by the Health System include the active screening of all patients coming to our outpatient clinics and Emergency Departments and active screening of new admissions. We also have procured extra supplies of antiviral medications.

In addition, the Health System is asking all nonclinical students, staff and faculty who don't need to be in The Johns Hopkins Hospital or Johns Hopkins Bayview Medical Center for school or work purposes to refrain from going to or through the hospitals unless they are ill and need care.

All university students, staff and faculty and Health System employees also are asked to:

  • Actively monitor their own health and the health of their friends and family

  • Call their health care provider if, and as soon as, flulike symptoms appear

  • Consider avoiding travel to states and places abroad that are reporting cases of swine flu. Although the CDC has not yet restricted travel, anyone returning from a so-called hot spot (currently this refers only to Mexico, which has reported the most cases and the only deaths) will be required to report for symptom screening before returning to school or work. Those with flulike symptoms will not be allowed to return to school or work for seven days. Details on this screening will be forthcoming.

  • All employees, students and faculty members should take these actions 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. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

  • To help prevent spreading germs, avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.

  • Report any new respiratory illness consistent with influenza (fever, chills, cough, sore throat) if you have traveled to states bordering Mexico or have had contact with a known swine flu case.

  • The national situation is rapidly evolving, so please be prepared to receive more updates and recommendations in the coming days.

    Additional information and updates from national health and emergency agencies is being posted on the CEPAR Web page: www.hopkins-cepar.org/.

    Please refer to the CEPAR intranet Web site www.insidehopkinsmedicine.org/cepar/ for updates specific to Johns Hopkins.

    Gabor D. Kelen, M.D.
    Johns Hopkins Office of Critical Event Preparedness and Response
    The Department of Emergency Medicine