Report flu symptoms to CHS

Two cases of the H1N1 virus (novel) were reported to Campus Health Services (CHS) over the weekend. One case was confirmed in Helderberg, and another in Heemstede. In both cases the students are being treated at their homes. It is suspected that a third student, who lives in private accommodation, has also contracted the virus. In Heemstede notices reminding students with flu-like symptoms to visit CHS were placed on the notice boards, and each student in Helderberg was informed of the confirmed swine flu case by SMS.At the beginning of the semester, the Management of Stellenbosch University reassured staff and students via e-mail that Campus Health Services (CHS) is ensuring that Stellenbosch University remains abreast of the latest developments. The necessary arrangements have already been made in accordance with the protocol recommended by the World Health Organisation for the management of the H1N1 virus and with due cognisance of advice from the University’s own experts.

“Stellenbosch University is privileged to have the necessary expertise and processes to handle any cases rapidly and efficiently, thanks to CHS and our Faculty of Health Sciences. If the situation does change drastically, the latest developments will be communicated to the campus community,” Prof Julian Smith, Acting Rector said in the e-mail.

Dr Pierre Viviers, Head of CHS, confirmed today (Monday, 27 July 2009) that they were aware of the cases and that the same guidelines and precautionary measures communicated to campus last week, were still applicable. Where possible ill students should rather be treated at home, or in single rooms in residences. There is no reason to cancel traveling arrangements, to institute quarantine measures or to wear masks.

He emphasized that the recommended preventative measures should be followed. These include washing hands regularly and coughing or sneezing into a handkerchief (or even into the crook of your arm) to prevent possible spreading, and giving immediate attention to symptoms, even if it later turns out to be seasonal flu. Symptoms include fever, a blocked or runny nose, a sore throat, coughing, muscle pain, cramps and tiredness.

Especially staff and students who have recently traveled internationally and start experiencing some of these symptoms should immediately get medical help. When international congresses are held on our campuses, the organisers should also take note of the protocol and immediately contact CHS if symptoms are reported by delegates. A copy of the protocol can be obtained from CHS.

The protocol for the handling of the H1N1 virus gives guidelines for the prevention, reporting and confirmation of cases, for sources of more information and for the management of possible cases. CHS is the first reporting point for any student or staff member who may be infected.

Stellenbosch Medi-Clinic and Stellenbosch Hospital have also been contacted to set in place a reference procedure from CHS to these hospitals, which are also recommended for the reporting of possible cases after hours and during weekends. Students on the Tygerberg campus can obtain medical assistance at the Louis Leipoldt Hospital, the Durbanville Medi-Clinic en die N1 City Hospital. Staff and students who live elsewhere are requested to report possible infections to the hospital of their choice as soon as possible.

Staff and students should inform University management and CHS immediately should their infection with the virus be confirmed so that people with whom they have had contact can be informed and further procedures can be activated.

General information about the H1N1 virus is available at www.capegateway.gov.za, www.who.int and www.cdc.gov. CHS can be contacted for queries and more information on tel: 021 808 3496/3494 for Stellenbosch campus or on tel: 021 938 9590 for the Tygerberg campus. CHS has a clinic in Claassen Street (between Metanoia and Heemstede) in Stellenbosch and in the student centre at Tygerberg.