November 9, 2009
Over the past few months, I have had many inquiries from parents regarding H1N1 and BC’s efforts to deal with the virus.
I would like to respond by assuring parents, students and members of the BC Community that Boston College has an excellent Health Services Department that is staffed by highly trained professionals with many years of experience in health care.
In addition, we have an Emergency Management Team consisting of senior University administrators from all departments that meets regularly to assist with the University's preparedness and outreach efforts regarding the H1N1 virus.
Our Health Services Department is currently in the process of vaccinating students for seasonal flu. Health Services hosted one flu fair in October with an additional one scheduled for November 12th. As you know, the H1N1 vaccine, which was supposed to arrive at colleges and universities by mid-October, has been delayed nationwide. When we receive our shipment we will notify our students at risk and, as more vaccine becomes available, we will vaccinate as many of our students as possible. (During the Thanksgiving break, you may want to contact your primary care provider to see if the H1N1 vaccine is available so you can have your child vaccinated while home for the holidays).
As with all colleges nationwide, we at Boston College have experienced multiple cases of influenza like illness (ILI) since the start of the school year. Thus far, however, the ILI cases have affected less than 5% of our student population. All of our cases have been mild, and we have had neither hospitalizations nor serious illnesses. Generally, in accordance with CDC guidelines, students with ILI have self-isolated until their fever subsided and then returned to class after a few days.
Our experience at BC reflects the national trend where there have been thousands of cases reported in the colleges surveyed, yet only 95 hospitalizations, and no deaths. The other bit of good news here at BC is that there have been no clusters of students coming down with flu-like symptoms. The majority of our cases are sporadic, with very few roommates, friends, or teammates becoming ill as a result of exposure.
The situation remains fluid and we are monitoring it carefully and will respond as the situation warrants.
As we have told your son or daughter, if your child becomes ill with ILI, he or she can seek treatment or information at Health Services, Cushing Hall, 1st Floor, or by calling 617-552-3225.
I would recommend that parents visit our website at www.bc.edu/healthservices. We have information and advice for students, faculty, staff and parents. There are also links to state and national websites with helpful information.
Thomas I. Nary M.D.
Director University Health Services