H1N1 and Institutions of Higher Education


  • Bruno Petinaux, MD
  • Larissa May, MD, MSPH
  • Rebecca Katz, PhD, MPH
  • Jeffrey Luk, MD
  • Isabel A. Goldenberg, MD




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.

Author Biographies

Bruno Petinaux, MD

Assistant Professor, Disaster/EMS Fellowship Director, Department of Emergency Medicine, The George Washington University, Medical Faculty Associates, Washington, DC.

Larissa May, MD, MSPH

Assistant Professor, Department of Emergency Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia; Department of Microbiology, Immunology, and Tropical Medicine, The George Washington University, Washington, District of Columbia; Department of Epidemiology and Biostatistics, The George Washington University, Washington, DC.

Rebecca Katz, PhD, MPH

Assistant Research Professor, Department of Health Policy, The George Washington University Medical Center, School of Public Health and Health Services, Washington, DC.

Jeffrey Luk, MD

EMS/Disaster Medicine Fellow, Department of Emergency Medicine, The George Washington University, Medical Faculty Associates, Washington, DC.

Isabel A. Goldenberg, MD

GWU Student Health Director, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, The George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences, Washington, DC.


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How to Cite

Petinaux, MD, B., L. May, MD, MSPH, R. Katz, PhD, MPH, J. Luk, MD, and I. A. Goldenberg, MD. “H1N1 and Institutions of Higher Education”. American Journal of Disaster Medicine, vol. 4, no. 5, Sept. 2009, pp. 287-98, doi:10.5055/ajdm.2009.0041.