As many of you begin your travels home for the break, I wanted to take this opportunity to remind you of important precautions you should continue to take after leaving campus as we remain in the midst of cold, flu and virus season. There have been 35 confirmed cases of UMD students who have tested positive for Adenovirus by the University Health Center or by an outside physician, and at this time we are not aware of any students who are currently hospitalized. Ten of these have been confirmed as Adenovirus 7 by the CDC.
It is important that we all consider how we can help stop the spread of illnesses and keep ourselves and others healthy.
If you need to travel and currently have a fever, I urge you to consider not using public transportation. Public transportation, including planes, buses and trains, are an easy source of illness transmission. In addition, if you are not currently sick and will be taking public transportation, remember to wash your hands and use hand sanitizer often to avoid catching a virus from someone else.
If you are sick, stay home and in bed. Avoid crowded places, such as large gatherings, to prevent spreading your illness to others. In particular, avoid friends or family who have underlying medical problems when you are or believe you may be sick. If you are attending any gatherings or parties, remember to avoid sharing food, utensils, cups and water bottles.
If you have not yet gotten a flu shot, I urge you to do so during your time off. Flu season lasts through March, so it is not too late.
Please take your symptoms seriously. If you have chronic medical problems like asthma, diabetes or illnesses that lower your immune system or take medicine that lowers your immune system, it is vitally important not to ignore flu-like symptoms (high fever and cough/sore throat and vomiting/diarrhea) and to visit a physician within 48 hours of developing symptoms.
As a reminder, we have a series of resources on the University Health Center website regarding Adenovirus, and will continue to post updates there. In addition, for students who currently live on-campus, please remember to follow the instructions provided by the Departments of Resident Life and Residential Facilities so they can successfully execute their expanded cleaning program this winter break to include disinfecting frequently-touched surfaces inside student rooms.
David McBride, MD Director, University Health Center