H1N1 and Institutions of Higher Education
Keywords:Influenza A, Institutions of Higher Education, nonpharmaceutical interventions, antiviral, isolation
Objective: Institutions of Higher Education (IHE) have been preparing for the likely resurgence of Influenza A (H1N1) virus this Fall. Amongst the multitude of factors affecting their preparatory efforts, medical considerations and evidence serve to provide the foundation for many planning decisions.
Design: The authors reviewed the relevant medical literature for evidence of effective measures to mitigate the consequences of H1N1. Evidence was reviewed as it pertains to IHE.The authors opted to focus on vaccination, antiviral medications, masks, hand washing, environmental cleaning, and isolation and quarantine.
Results: Despite the limited evidence found for the IHE setting, recommendations were made to encourage vaccination, deemphasize the role of antivirals in most IHE students, and provide surgical masks for ill students, as they may leave their living environment, while simultaneously stressing self isolation without quarantine. Additionally, frequent hand washing and high traffic fomite cleaning should be encouraged.
Conclusion: Preparation for pandemic influenza in the IHE context is very complex and all decisions should be based on the best evidence available.
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