A letter from President George Bridges
April 26, 2009
To the Whitman Community,
Over the past several days an outbreak of the swine flu that originated in Mexico appears to have spread to the US, and it is showing signs of spreading further. As of Sunday afternoon, reports are that cases of this potentially dangerous virus have been detected in five states: California, Texas, Kansas, Ohio and New York. Cases in Mexico have resulted in deaths.
On campus, members of our pandemic team have been monitoring the situation and apprising and advising me. They report that the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) are concerned about the potential for rapid transmission of this virus. While that certainly is a critical concern, our team reports that there is extremely low risk of transmission to our area and that normal operations should continue at Whitman at this time.
However, it is important that Whitman be attentive, vigilant and responsive to CDC recommendations. Among them are the following:
- If any individual shows signs of flu-like symptoms (fever or respiratory problems) and they know they have possibly been in contact with anyone from the five infected states or Mexico , they should seek immediate medical attention.
- Consider re-scheduling travel plans to areas with outbreaks at this time. Before travelling, I urge you to review the CDC’s advisory at: http://wwwn.cdc.gov/travel/contentSwineFluUS.aspx
- Practice good protective hygiene -- frequent hand-washing, keep 4-5 feet distance from anyone you know is ill, covering mouth with the crook of your elbow if you are sneezing and have no Kleenex or tissue, and isolate yourself to the greatest extent possible from the public if you are ill.
I encourage you to follow news reports and keep informed on this public health situation. Further information can be accessed at the World Health Organization and CDC Web sites at:
Please know that we will continue to watch the situation, remain in contact with local public health officials, and take precautionary measures as needed. I will also communicate with you directly as additional information on the outbreak becomes available.
Thank you for your attention and for taking seriously the CDC recommendations above.