2009 H1N1 Influenza (Swine flu)
I. GENERAL INFORMATION
Recommendations to DOE Field Management and Contractors
Department of Energy (DOE) site contractors and Federal managers
should work with local and State authorities to coordinate
response to actual or potential 2009 H1N1 influenza (swine
flu) cases at or near the sites. If an individual becomes
ill at work with possible influenza-like symptoms or has traveled
to countries with confirmed 2009 H1N1 Influenza (swine flu)
cases, please notify the occupational health clinic and supervisor.
Individuals with a confirmed case of 2009 H1N1 Influenza (swine
flu) are asked to inform the site occupational medicine clinic
What is the 2009 H1N1 Influenza?
H1N1 is a new influenza virus causing illness in people.
This new virus was first detected in people in April 2009
in the United States. Other countries, including Mexico and
Canada, have reported people sick with this new virus. This
virus is spreading from person-to-person, probably in much
the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
This virus was originally referred to as "swine flu"
because laboratory testing showed that many of the genes in
this new virus were very similar to influenza viruses that
normally occur in pigs in North America. At this time, there
is no evidence that swine in the United States are infected
with this new virus. However, there are flu viruses that commonly
cause outbreaks of illness in pigs. Most of the time, these
viruses do not infect people, but influenza viruses can spread
back and forth between pigs and people.
What are the symptoms?
Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache,
chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and
vomiting associated with the new H1N1 influenza. If you exhibit
symptoms, you should request leave from your supervisor, stay
home, and limit contact with other people to prevent the spread
of infection. Seek appropriate medical attention, and follow
any instructions from your primary care provider.
Is this novel influenza 2009 H1N1 Influenza virus contagious?
And how does it spread?
CDC has determined that this H1N1 virus is contagious and
is spreading from human to human. Flu viruses are spread mainly
from person to person through coughing or sneezing. Sometimes
people may become infected by touching objects or surfaces
contaminated with flu viruses and then touching their eyes,
nose, or mouth.
II. PREVENTION MEASURES
What can I do to protect myself from getting sick?
No vaccine is available to protect against H1N1 influenza.
Everyday public health action can help prevent the spread
of virus that cause respiratory illnesses like H1N1 influenza
and protect your health:
Practice good hygiene.
- Cover your nose and mouth with tissues when you
cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you
use it. If your do not have a tissue, cough or sneeze into
your elbow to reduce contaminating your hands.
- Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially
after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are
also effective if soap and water are not readily available
and if your hands are not heavily soiled. However, they
must contain at least 60% alcohol. Rub your hands with sanitizer
vigorously until it is dried.
- Washing hands vigorously for 20 seconds is essential,
especially after the following activities:
o Before preparing or eating food
o After going to the bathroom or assisting someone with
o Before and after tending to someone who is sick
o After blowing your nose, coughing, or sneezing
o After handling an animal or animal waste
o After handling garbage
o Before and after treating a cut or wound
- Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth to reduce the
spread of the virus.
- Try to avoid close contact with people who exhibit signs
- If you or a family member gets sick with influenza, CDC
recommends staying home from work or school and limiting
contact with others to reduce the spread of disease.
- Keep surfaces clean by routine cleaning and disinfection
strategies (the use of products that reduce or destroy viruses).
Influenza viruses can persist on both nonporous and porous
surfaces for hours to days depending on a variety of human
and environmental factors. The secondary spread of infectious
virus from environmental reservoirs to susceptible persons
is accomplished primarily via hand transfer (i.e., hand
contact with contaminated surfaces and then touching mucous
membranes of the eyes, nose, and mouth).
- Employees should refrain from traveling while ill.
Antiviral medications that a doctor can prescribe are available
for prevention and treatment of H1N1.
- Guidelines for the use of antiviral medication for the
treatment and prophylaxis of H1N1 are available on the CDC
website. These guidelines are updated as we learn more about
this new virus, so be sure to check for the most current