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Memorial issues travel advisory

April 29, 2009

Memorial University, through its Communicable Disease Prevention and Control Strategy, is actively monitoring the outbreak of human swine influenza in Mexico and will issue notifications when warranted to alert the university community.

Human swine influenza has been reported in Canada and elsewhere. The Public Health Agency of Canada (PHAC) is working collaboratively with the World Health Organization and federal, provincial and international governments to address this situation. For further information visit PHAC’s website.

As of April 27, the Public Health Agency of Canada is recommending that travelers from Canada postpone elective or non-essential travel to Mexico until further notice. In compliance with this recommendation, Memorial University is hereby postponing all travel to Mexico by faculty, staff and students. This includes all travel to Mexico on university business, university-funded travel, or university- sanctioned travel (e.g. co-op work placements, research, student exchanges, conferences, workshops, etc.).

About Human Swine Influenza
Swine influenza A H1N1 (swine flu) is a respiratory infection that causes outbreaks of influenza in pigs.  Sporadic human infections with swine influenza have occurred in the past; however, these are usually caused by direct exposure to pigs.

Symptoms
Symptoms are similar to seasonal influenza (flu) including headache, chills, cough followed by fever, loss of appetite, muscle aches and fatigue, runny nose, sneezing, watery eyes and throat irritation  Nausea, vomiting and diarrhea may occur in adults as well as in children  In more severe cases, or in people with chronic conditions, complications such as pneumonia may develop.

Actions if at risk
If you develop respiratory illness with fever and cough, you are advised to:
• Stay at home and avoid contact with others until you no longer have symptoms
Should your symptoms worsen:
• Before seeking medical attention, it is recommended that you call ahead to your health care provider or urgent care facility to inform them of your symptoms and your recent travel history
Hygiene tips
1. Wash your hands frequently with soap under warm running water. Alcohol-based hand gel can also be used if soap and water are not readily available. It’s a good idea to keep some with you in your pocket or purse.

2. Practice proper cough and sneeze etiquette. Cover your mouth and nose to reduce the spread of germs. Remember to wash your hands afterwards.
3. Try to avoid contact with people who appear to have a respiratory illness.
4. Do not share bottles, cigarettes or any other item that may promote the transfer of saliva.


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