Virus Communication April 10, 2019

Campus Alert: April 10, 2019

Dear campus community,

I’m writing with an update on cold and flu season.  There continues to be flu activity in the state of Maryland and at the university.  The University Health Center has tested a number of individuals for Adenovirus, and have had one positive test since the start of the Spring semester. This specimen is being sent to CDC to test for typing. We’ve not been made aware of any cases of Adenovirus from outside entities, as it is a fairly common virus that is not frequently tested for. 

Please remember:

  • Wash your hands frequently and use the hand sanitizing stations that are located around campus. 
  • Avoid those who are ill, if possible.
  • Clean high-touch surfaces in your room and/or office with anti-bacterial cleaner (bleach wipes are very good).
  • Cough into your sleeve or a tissue, not directly into your hands, and wash your hands immediately.
  • Avoid touching your face both when you are ill and when healthy. This spreads germs!
  • Avoid sharing food, utensils, cups, and water-bottles.

The treatment for influenza and Adenovirus for otherwise healthy people is “supportive,” meaning that our recommendations will often be that you rest, take plenty of fluids and fever-reducing medicine if you are diagnosed with the flu.  Anti-viral medications (Tamiflu and Relenza) must be started within 48-72 hours of the onset of illness, but they are generally not recommended for healthy people with flu.  For students, faculty and staff who have chronic medical problems, such asthma, diabetes, and immune dysfunction, it is important to visit the UHC or your personal physician within 48 hours of developing flu symptoms.

You may also be aware that there are currently cases and clusters of measles around the country, 465 cases in 19 states.  Maryland Department of Health just announced that there has been one confirmed case in the State (NOT at the University of Maryland).  Measles vaccine is required for students at UMD, and we are currently working to alert those students who have not submitted proper records.  Please take this opportunity to check your vaccine records to ensure that you are in one of the following categories:

  • Received two doses of measles–containing vaccine (typically MMR) on or after the person’s first birthday,
  • Had a blood test showing immunity to measles,
  • Were born in the United States prior to January 1, 1957 (a time when measles was common).  Please note that there is no age cut–off for immunity in persons born outside the United States. This means those born outside of the United States need two doses of MMR regardless of age.

Measles vaccine (MMR) is available at the UHC and many pharmacies and is generally covered by insurance. 

Contact the UHC at 301.314.8180 for medical advice if you are unsure of what to do after reading this information.

Stay well! The University Health Center is here to answer any questions that you may have.

In health,

David McBride, MD
Director, University Health Center