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H1N1 prevention


The CSU-Pueblo TODAY has teamed up with the Pueblo City-County Health Department to ensure Colorado State University-Pueblo students are kept up-to-date on the dangers and severity of the H1N1 or “swine flu” virus.

In the past month, the Colorado educational institutions of Air Force Academy and the University of Colorado at Boulder have experienced H1N1 flu outbreaks.

As of September 14, there have been no known incidences of H1N1 on campus; however the World Health Organization reports a total of over 277,607 worldwide outbreaks.

by Marian Kamensky
by Marian Kamensky

This number also carries a disclaimer as the WHO reports, “Given that countries are no longer required to test and report individual cases, the number of cases reported actually understates the real number of cases.”

H1N1 can spread easily from person to person through air or surface contact, and shows symptoms similar to the seasonal flu: fever, sneezing, sore throat, cough, headache and muscle or joint pains, as reported by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.

Those at higher risk for the H1N1 flu include people less than 24 years of age, pregnant women and people with chronic medical conditions such as asthma, heart disease or diabetes.

The Pueblo City-County Health Department and the CDC recommend a person with the flu or flu-like symptoms not to go to work or class.

They also advise infected persons not return to work or school until the fever or signs of a fever, which include chills, flushed appearance or frequent sweating, have been gone for at least 24 hours.

By being aware of these symptoms and staying home until the fever or signs of a fever subside, the CDC and Pueblo City-County Health Department said, will limit contact with others and prevent them from getting infected.

Other steps to take to prevent infection are practicing good hygiene by washing your hands, especially after coughing and sneezing, and by covering your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. It is also recommended to avoid touching your eyes, nose, mouth or any other place on your body where germs can spread.

The virus was first identified in March 2009, according the CDC, as being a new strain of the influenza A virus subtype H1N1 that originated in Mexico City.

By early June, the virus began to spread globally and was designated as a “pandemic” by the WHO.

This effort to raise awareness of the H1N1 virus as a pandemic was brought about by the rapid circulation it had around the world.

“This action was a reflection of the spread of the new H1N1 virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus,” the CDC reports.

While there is currently no approved vaccination for the H1N1 virus, Emory University in Atlanta, Ga., has been testing a trial vaccine on volunteers.

Reports from Emory University state in the last few weeks, three volunteers were given a trial vaccine to test the effectiveness of the new vaccine, as part of a national clinical run.

In the coming weeks, two groups, each with 100 volunteers (aged 19-64 and 65-and-older), will each be given the trial vaccine.

Harry Keyserling, professor of pediatrics at Emory University, said the trials aim to answer important questions about vaccinating infected patients.

“Which age groups need to be administered the vaccine?” and “Should it be given with the regular seasonal flu shot or administered separately?” are questions that Keyserling said need answering.

If successful, the vaccine could be available by October, according to reports from Emory University.

The TODAY newspaper will report new infections and breakthroughs regarding the H1N1 virus.

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