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New Mexico State University

New Mexico State University

News Center

NMSU responds to Swine Flu concerns

Reports of Swine Influenza outbreaks in the U.S., Mexico and elsewhere have yielded questions at New Mexico State University regarding ongoing operations and precautions. As with any situation of this nature, the university is closely monitoring developments. Locally, there is currently no health emergency.

The NMSU Communicable Disease Preparedness Committee has been meeting on a regular basis for several years and the response plan can be found at http://www.nmsu.edu/~safety/emergency.htm. The university also is authorizing the purchase of hand sanitizers, tissues, counter top cleaners and similar supplies to support workplace hygiene.

NMSU is not aware of any confirmed cases of Swine Influenza in New Mexico and confirmed cases in the U.S. are still relatively few. While the situation is still evolving, the university is making information available to all of its campuses and encouraging everyone to be aware of precautions they can take.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, people cannot get swine influenza from eating properly cooked pork or pork products. Most influenza viruses, including the swine flu virus, are not foodborne.

Based on information from the CDC as well as NMSU's Medical Director for the University Health Centers, Dr. Benjamin Diven, the university recommends the following measures to prevent the transmission of any type of flu:

?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 also are effective. (Check to make sure your sanitizers contain at least 63 percent alcohol.)
?If you get sick, stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.
?Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
?Get plenty of sleep, be physically active, manage your stress, drink plenty of fluids, and eat nutritious food.

Diven indicates that the most common symptoms of influenza are high fever, cough, sore throat and extreme fatigue. Symptoms are similar to a common cold in its milder forms and are treated in a similar manner with over-the-counter medications and rest.

The vast majority of people recover without complications, but in all influenza outbreaks a very small number of people will develop complications and become quite ill. This outbreak is behaving the same as other outbreaks.

The university is not canceling classes or any large events at this time, but is encouraging departments to notify departmental administration of high levels of absenteeism, so the situation can continue to be monitored closely.

The NMSU Student Health Center Web site is always a good resource for information and specifically addresses issues regarding travel. You can find that site at http://www.nmsu.edu/~shc/.

Additional information is available through the Cooperative Extension Office at http://aces.nmsu.edu/ces/nmhs/swine-flu.html.

National information about the outbreak can be obtained from the CDC Web site at www.CDC.gov/swineflu.