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Disaster Preparedness The University of Texas at Austin School of Nursing

H1N1 Influenza A Update – May 4, 2009

The University continues to monitor the H1N1 Influenza A (swine flu) pandemic alert. University officials meet daily to discuss and refine plans to address any changes in the virulence or transmission of this flu virus.

As nurses and nursing students, we need to remain vigilant and continue to educate ourselves on the current status. Visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site for more information. Continue to model and educate others about hand washing and respiratory etiquette.

Locally, there has been no increase in confirmed or probable cases. There are two probable cases in Travis County. These numbers may increase as the state laboratory catches up with a backlog of specimens.

April 29, 2009

Preparedness helps. As nurses and nursing students, we have important roles to play in this evolving time of pandemic alert. Since neighbors and family members will look to us as examples and sources of current information on the swine flu outbreak, it is important for each of us to know the facts.

Most importantly, continue to stress the basics of hand washing, staying home when ill and respiratory etiquette.

April 27, 2009

Dr. Gerald Harkins with the UT Office of Campus Safety and Security has sent the following alert:

"As I am sure most of you have been following the news about the Swine Flu (H1N1) in Mexico. It appears to be spreading and there have been confirmed cases in the San Antonio area and there are confirmed cases of human to human transmission. It is important to note that this is NOT the H5N1 virus (bird flu) that has been the subject of so much discussion. The Swine Flu is similar to the 1968 and 1976 outbreaks. But it is spreading and causing illness and death.

The World Health Organization has instituted a Level 3. That equates to level 0 of UT. But there has been human transmission and cases in Texas. I will set the alert level for UT at Level 1 for us and we should expect to move to Level 2."

The Levels of Alert are described in the Univeristy Plan for Infectious Disease and are Listed here:

University Levels of Action and Planning and Incident Response Level Criteria

  1. Level 0:
    1. Identification of avian influenza or other newly emergent virus but no human-to-human transmission worldwide.
    2. Emergency plan response level: Pre-event assessment and planning.
    3. Emergency plan incident response level criteria: No current hazard to persons.
  2. Level 1:
    1. First confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the virus worldwide.
    2. Emergency plan response level: Intense university planning and preparation.
    3. Emergency plan incident response level criteria: Minimal immediate hazard to students, faculty, and staff. The emergency can be resolved with minimal outside agency assistance.
  3. Level 2:
    1. First confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the virus in the U.S., Canada, or Mexico.
    2. Emergency plan response level: University preparing to suspend classes.
    3. Emergency plan incident response level criteria: Possibly endangers students, faculty, and staff and requires coordination with outside agencies.
  4. Level 3:
    1. First confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the virus in Texas.
    2. Emergency plan response level: University suspends classes for 4-8 weeks.
    3. Emergency plan incident response level criteria: Greater risk to students, faculty, and staff and requires substantial coordination with outside agencies.
  5. Level 4:
    1. First confirmed case of human-to-human transmission of the virus in Austin, Travis County, or central Texas.
    2. Emergency plan response level: No class activity; sustained activity for those remaining.
    3. Emergency plan incident response level criteria: Likely risk to students, faculty, and staff and requires substantial coordination with outside agencies.

School of Nursing faculty, staff and students should review the UT Plan for Infectious Disease (PDF Format)* and be strong advocates and educators for hand washing, staying home if you are sick and become familiar with social distancing practices, if they become necessary.

*Download Adobe Reader - 7.0 or later for viewing Adobe Acrobat PDF files

By Trish O'Day