H1N1 Flu Update

Media Contact
April 30, 2009

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the H1N1 flu is a respiratory disease caused by type A influenza viruses that is contagious and is spread from person to person.  At this time WPI does not have any reports of students, faculty or staff being afflicted with the H1N1 flu virus, and we are actively working to keep our community and visitors safe and healthy.  Therefore, as of now, all of WPI’s year-end events - including Commencement - will go on as scheduled. 

With the continuation of these scheduled activities, we would like to ask for everyone’s assistance in helping to protect the health of our campus and its visitors.  We ask that anyone who might be experiencing symptoms that include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue – and even diarrhea and vomiting – contact their health care providers for immediate medical attention.  We would also like to ask any people who may be affected to refrain from coming to campus.

Since April 29,the World Health Organization (WHO) has maintained a pandemic alert level at Phase 5, an assessment which indicates an “imminent global pandemic.”  WPI’s Emergency Response Team remains on top of the issue and is in close communication with the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.  The team is also closely monitoring the issue through media reports and the CDC and WHO websites and, should there be any important status changes that warrant a cancelation or a change to any of WPI’s year-end events or the university’s general operations, will issue an alert regarding those changes. 

As a preventative measure, WPI would also like to share the CDC’s tips for helping to reduce germ spread and the risk of infection:

  1. Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  2. Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hands cleaners are also effective.
  3. Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
  4. Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  5. Influenza is thought to spread mainly person-to-person through coughing or sneezing of infected people.
  6. If you get sick, CDC recommends that you stay home from work or school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

All members of the community are encouraged to contact WPI Health Services with any questions or concerns.  They can be reached at x5520 or SHS@wpi.edu.