Friday, June 12, 2009

UPM Constituents: URGENT Re: A(H1N1) Protocol

Hello. I am Dr. Regina Berba of the UP-PGH Hospital Infection Control Unit and in charge of UPM response to H1N1. I am writing you to give some guidance on how we could best respond to the recent events.

It is very important that we all follow the guidelines below. I am also attaching the school policies related to influenza A (H1N1). Please take time to read through this letter and the attached document.

1. In this period of a pandemic, we should all take care of our own selves, our families and communities. While the infection seems to be currently presenting as a mild illness, we still want to reduce our risks of getting it and passing it on to others. As much as we can, let us take extra precautions to minimize the number of persons who will become ill.

Observe hand hygiene. Wash hands frequently. Buy a bottle of alcohol or alcohol based hand rub and keep in your pocket, Observe cough etiquette. Avoid crowded areas. Stay away from sick persons.

2. If you had travel to a country with confirmed cases - please stay at home (self-quarantine) for 10 days. That means if you arrived on June 7, the earliest you can go back to school is June 18- assuming you did not become ill.

3. If you had close contact with our index case within 6ft distance even for only a few minutes, please put yourself on quarantine. If the exposure was June 6, you should be on quarantine until June 16 and the earliest you can go back to school is June 17-assuming you did not become ill.

The purpose of quarantine is to reduce the interactions you have with other susceptible people so that in the event you develop the illness, there would be less contacts who can become ill later. Less contacts, less cases. Quarantine means staying by yourself in a well ventilated room in your house. If you will be in a common area with other family members, wear a mask even if you do not have symptoms. Its an inconvenience but it is important!

4. Whether you belong to #1 or #2 above and during this 10-day period you develop or now have any of: fever, cough, colds, sore throat- kindly consult. Begin to wear a disposable surgical mask even while you are at home so that you protect the other family members from possibly catching the virus if you have it already.

You and your parents may opt to go to: a) the Research Institute of Tropical Medicine (RITM) in Alabang, Lung Center of the Philippines in QC, San Lazaro Hospital Manila; b) a private medical center of your choice; c) UP-PGH.

If you decide to go to PGH, please call or text the UPM H1N1 Hotline 09197470570 before proceeding so we can prepare for your arrival. Give the anticipated time of your visit. The area we will see you at would be at the PGH H1N1 unit -previous AMBU in front of the ER.

The consultation will involve getting a thorough history, PE, respiratory specimens (nasopharyngeal swab and oropharyngeal swab) and decision making whether you need to be admitted. The specimens are brought to the RITM. Results of the RT-PCR for the influenza A(H1N1) will become available in 24-48 hours.

If your test will become positive for influenza A (H1N1) please inform me 09178926954 so we could do contact tracing. Please follow all the physician's advise and medications.

5. When you have symptoms, whether or not it is influenza A (H1N1) or the regular seasonal flu or other viruses, staying at home in isolation (the proper term now is not QUARANTINE anymore but ISOLATION) is very critical. Wear a mask. Practice the cough etiquette. Cover your mouth when you cough,

6. If you become ill, DO NOT GO TO SCHOOL until 24 hours after all your symptoms have disappeared. You would need clearance from the UPHS before the first day back to school.

7. Quarantine and isolation due to exposure or illness will be excused. Please call the College Secretary's office to notify them of your absence and reason behind and duration of the absence.

8. Any questions please call the Hotline 09197470570 (our IDS fellow will answer you) or my number (09178926954) .

In behalf of Chancellor Arcadio and Dean Roxas, I extend my sincerest hope to all of you that everyone will be well. We will be here to help you.

For your full compliance please.
Regina Berba