May 1, 2009

Swine Flu Concerns Hit Slope Day

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As fences were being put up, the stage was being constructed and students were finalizing social plans, the University advised students yesterday to take caution with their Slope Day celebrations in light of the recent nationwide swine flu threat.
With 91 cases of confirmed swine flu in the United States, including possible cases in central New York, the University is trying to ensure that the necessary health precautions will be taken by students on Slope Day when masses of students are set to congregate and potentially spread illnesses.
Dean of Students Kent Hubbell ’67 sent out an e-mail to students yesterday encouraging them “to reduce the risk of transmission through standard prevention practices.” Hubbell noted that students should wash their hands, use hand sanitizer and cover their mouths when coughing or sneezing. He also warned against sharing cups, bottles, eating utensils, lip balms and smoking paraphernalia.
While Cortland, N.Y. is the closest city to Ithaca with a potential case of swine flu (the individual in question is currently listed as “probable” for swine flu infection), the University is still making sure students take necessary precautions as the World Health Organization has claimed that a pandemic is “imminent.”
Even before the recent swine flu outbreak in Mexico, the University had been preparing for a potential flu pandemic in its “Preparation and Response Plan.”
The U.S. government is also taking measures to curb the spread of swine flu. President Barack Obama has asked Congress for $1.5 billion to prepare against the pandemic.