Update: Sibley's Statement About The Swine Flu
Date: May 1, 2009
From: Mark R. Abbruzzese, MD
Chair, Infection Control and Prevention Committee
In response to increasing reports of swine flu in the US, and suspected cases in closer proximity to the Washington, DC metro area, we wanted to update you on our efforts to protect Sibley. The health, safety and well-being of Sibley’s patients, physicians, staff, and volunteers is our top priority.
Through the DC Emergency Healthcare Coalition, we are in daily contact with the DC Department of Health and factoring any new information into our ongoing efforts. As of this morning, the CDC has confirmed 141 cases of Swine Flu or H1N1 in the United States. Late Wednesday, we learned of reports of suspected cases near Baltimore but there are still no cases that have been reported in Washington, DC.
We ask that all Sibley employees remain vigilant about their health and personal hygiene. The most important thing you can do is wash your hands frequently. Hand-cleansing stations are located throughout the hospital for everyone’s use.
The flu virus is typically spread from person to person through coughing or sneezing, and can sometimes be spread by contacting something with flu viruses on it and then touching the nose or mouth. People with swine influenza virus infection should be considered potentially contagious as long as they are symptomatic and possibly for up to 7 days following illness onset. Children, especially younger children, might potentially be contagious for longer periods.
If you become ill with influenza-like symptoms, including fever, body aches, runny nose, sore throat, nausea, or vomiting or diarrhea, please notify your manager immediately. We ask that you stay home if you have these symptoms so as to not infect our patients, fellow staff, physicians, volunteers, and visitors at Sibley.
Other activities we have/are taking:
- Established protocols and guidelines in the ED, pharmacy and laboratory
- Worked with environmental services to establish appropriate cleaning procedures
- Working with material management to order necessary supplies
- Coordinating with the appropriate authorities on the use and distribution of the National Strategic Stockpile (for medication)
We will continue to closely monitor the situation and provide updates.