H1N1 "Swine" Influenza

Last updated: August 19, 2009

A busy residential setting such as the Bowdoin campus may increase the spread of person-to-person illness, including, potentially, the H1N1 virus, commonly known as “swine flu.”

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While cases of H1N1 influenza appear to be milder than the seasonal flu and much less serious than originally feared, the virus may still pose significant health consequences for at-risk groups, including those six months to 24 years old, pregnant women and those chronic medical conditions or compromised immune systems.

This Web site, which will be updated periodically or as events warrant, is intended to direct members of the Bowdoin community to the latest information about H1N1, and to provide information about ongoing preparedness efforts at the College.

Bowdoin's Campus Emergency Management Team (CEMT) maintains plans to deal with a variety of emergency situations, including health emergencies. A plan dealing with pandemic influenza has been modified specifically to address H1N1. This planning conforms to the most recent recommendations of the state and federal Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and is coordinated with parallel efforts by local, county, and state health and emergency response agencies. The key components of the plan include:

  • Preventive measures designed to protect the overall health and welfare of the campus community
  • Phased decision-making guidance based upon real-time reporting at the international, national, regional, state and local levels
  • Providing continuity of services for the on-campus population for the duration of any emergency
  • Recovery and resumption of normal operations as soon as feasible

What this means for Bowdoin

  • Following CDC recommendations, regular seasonal flu vaccinations will be offered to all students, free of charge, in early September.
  • The College strongly encourages students to receive the H1N1 vaccination. Students with pre-existing medical conditions, such as asthma, will be given first priority to receive the H1N1 vaccine; it will then be offered to all students. The Health Center expects to administer the first round of the dual-dose H1N1 vaccine in October; the second dose is given 21-28 days later. The vaccination is offered free of charge.
  • The College subsidizes regular seasonal flu vaccinations for employees, resulting in a $10 per vaccine cost, and encourages faculty and staff to take advantage of this offer. Due to the nature of their work, the vaccine is offered free of charge to Dining and Children’s Center employees.
  • Employees are encouraged to contact their primary care provider about obtaining the H1N1 vaccination.
  • Hand sanitizer stations and informational posters have been placed throughout the campus as a public health and education measure.
  • Provisions have been made to diagnose, isolate, treat, feed and care for ill students on campus. In some cases, ill students will be isolated in temporary sick wards.
  • Faculty and staff are encouraged to see their own healthcare provider if they become symptomatic.
  • Classes, events and activities will continue as scheduled unless notified otherwise.
  • Students who are home will be encouraged not to return to campus while symptomatic. Those on campus who become ill (fever greater than 100 degrees with a respiratory symptom) should call the Health Center (ext. 3770), and are welcome to return home by means of private transportation. The College plans to remain open and care for ill students on campus.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) describes H1N1 flu symptoms:

The symptoms of swine flu in people are similar to the symptoms of regular human flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting associated with swine flu. In the past, severe illness (pneumonia and respiratory failure) and deaths have been reported with swine flu infection in people. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.

The CDC's recommendations to reduce your risk of becoming infected:

  • Cover coughs and sneezes with your sleeve or elbow
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
  • Wash hands frequently, especially after coughing or sneezing

Other sources of information include:

Maine Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention