July 17, 2009

Influenza Health Advisory

VALDOSTA -- Valdosta State University health officials have confirmed two cases of the H1N1 influenza virus, including a high school student participating in the Governor’s Honors Program (GHP), which is hosted on the university campus.

Both students sought treatment at VSU’s Student Health Center and are recuperating at home. As part of the center’s standard protocol, a culture sample was taken and sent to the Georgia Public Health Laboratory for testing.

The university’s priority continues to be the safety and care of its students and university community. VSU officials are coordinating with state and local health agencies to monitor and minimize the impact of this year’s influenza season and other public health challenges. If the situation changes, appropriate action will be taken.

“We need to remember that in this country, most people who have become ill with H1N1 flu have had symptoms similar to regular seasonal flu and have recovered without requiring medical treatment,” said Dr. Edwin L. Hiatt, director and physician for VSU’s Student Health Center.

Hiatt said students should contact the Student Health Center if they are experiencing flu symptoms including: sore throat, runny nose, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, headache, fever, aching muscles and joints, and occasionally nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea.

“Students should stay away from classes and large social gatherings for seven days after the onset of flu symptoms or at least 24 hours after symptoms have resolved,” Hiatt said. “We encourage students to first call the center, if possible, and speak to a health professional, who will be happy to answer questions and provide guidance to students who are having flu-like symptoms and facilitate treatment for those needing medical care.”

GHP students and parents have been notified that a student was confirmed to have the H1N1 virus and recovering at home, according to Director Joe Searle. As recommended by the Centers for Disease Control and the Georgia Division of Public Health, the Governors Honor Program will continue to operate. The CDC H1N1 Guidance for Day and Residential Camps is available online at http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/camp.htm .

However, as recommended by the CDC, modifications are being made to the GHP schedule designed to minimize large group gatherings of students and reduce direct student contact. GHP and Georgia Department of Education officials are closely monitoring students’ health to determine if the response plan needs to be re-evaluated. Parents are allowed to withdraw their children from GHP if they so desire.

University officials encourage the campus community to follow the CDC recommendations:

  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread that way.
  • Stay home if you get sick and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.

For additional GHP information, please contact Director of Communications Dana Tofig, Georgia Department of Education, at 404-463-1487 or email dtofig@doe.k12.ga.us
  • General VSU Information
  • 229.333.5800
  • Office of Communications
  • 229.333.2163
  • 229.333.5983
  • Campus Address
    Office of Communications Powell Hall West, Suite 1120
  • Mailing Address
    1500 N. Patterson St.
    Valdosta, GA 31698