Swine flu: an overview

This notice is a brief summary of information about swine flu and the University’s approach to the issue. It includes links to further information.

Swine flu is a new strain of influenza. It has been classed as a pandemic because of the speed with which it is spreading, but it has not been a severe illness for most people. 

Further information about flu is available at the National Pandemic Flu Service In general, individuals are infectious only when they are displaying symptoms.

National policy
The number of swine flu cases in the UK is growing rapidly, and the health authorities have recently moved from a policy of 'containment' to one of 'mitigation': they are no longer focusing their efforts on preventing the spread of the disease but instead are concentrating on ensuring that individuals with flu have access to appropriate information, support and, where necessary, treatment.

Organisations are being advised to maintain business as usual so far as they can, even if individuals within the organisation contract flu. 

The University's approach
The University does not currently expect to have to shut or suspend any of its activities as a result of swine flu, but the position will be kept under close review; contingency plans are being drawn up lest clustering of cases jeopardises delivery of particular services.

The number of swine flu cases is likely to rise significantly as the virus spreads through the wider community. It will not necessarily be practicable for us to issue regular bulletins on the incidence of cases.

We are making detailed advice available to staff and students, currently via Campusweb http://www.leeds.ac.uk/comms/swine_flu/information.htm In brief, individuals who develop the symptoms of flu are advised

  • to go straight home;
  • to check their symptoms by using the checker linked at National Pandemic Flu Service or, if that is not possible to follow the advice on the website linked above or call the dedicated helpline on (0800 1 513 100 or 0800 1 513 200 (Textphone). If you are diagnosed with swine flu, you will be advised on how to collect antiviral medication (if prescribed). You should only call your GP instead of using the Flu Service if:
    you have a serious underlying illness;
    you are pregnant;
    you have a sick child under one year old;
    your condition suddenly gets much worse; or
    your condition is still getting worse after 7 days (5 for a child).
  • to stay at home, or in your student accommodation, until your symptoms have gone.
  • to report your absence in the usual way: to your manager if you are a member of staff; or to the school office or your tutor if you are a student.

Everyone is encouraged to follow the simple hygiene rules commended by the NHS.

Heads of schools and services are asked to ensure that any cases of flu among their staff are reported to flu@leeds.ac.uk.

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