Message from Chancellor Block

As you may know, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has identified cases of swine flu in humans, and the federal government has declared a national public health emergency. While the situation is evolving quickly, at least 40 cases have been confirmed in California (7), Texas (2), Kansas (2), Ohio (1) and New York City (28), according to the CDC (as of 10 a.m. on April 27). Everyone in the United States has recovered, but of the 1,400+ people sickened in Mexico, 81 deaths have been linked to this outbreak. CDC investigations are ongoing to determine the source of the infection and whether additional people have been infected with swine influenza viruses.

Swine flu is normally spread between pigs and to people who have close contact with pigs. What is different in this outbreak is that there is human to human transmission in people who have had no contact with pigs. However, the CDC has not determined just how easily the virus can spread between people. Some of those who died in Mexico are confirmed to have had a unique version of the virus that is a combination of bird, pig and human viruses.

I want you to know that UCLA has plans in place in the event of such outbreaks, and we are closely monitoring developments and are in close contact with federal, state and local public health officials. Units across campus—including the Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center, the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, the Office of Residential Life and others—are committed to sharing information in a timely and coordinated manner.

At this time, we recommend taking the following precautions:

  • 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 frequently with soap and warm water, especially after you cough or sneeze.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you get sick, stay home from work/school and limit contact with others to keep from infecting them.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.

In addition, CDC officials said they and the U.S. State Department are preparing travel advisories recommending against non-essential travel to Mexico.

If you develop flu-like symptoms (high fever, cough, runny nose, body aches, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea), contact your doctor immediately. Students on campus should contact the Arthur Ashe Student Health & Wellness Center (310-825-4073). Healthcare professionals are in the best position to determine if you need influenza testing.

The situation is developing quickly, so it is best to monitor the World Health Organization and CDC’s web sites for the most up-to-date information and travel advisories. The Ashe Center also has posted useful information.

The UCLA Newsroom has compiled links to important web sites and other useful information (see Related Information).


Gene D. Block