Adjunct Professor of the Health Sciences and Director of Student Health Services Dr. Merrill Miller hosted a panel discussion on the nature of the flu this season and what steps are being taken to prevent its spread. The forum was held in Love Auditorium on Wednesday, September 23.
In addition to Miller, Eric Faisst, MPH of the Madison County Department of Public Health and Dr. Geoffrey Holm of the biology department spoke about the two viruses most common this season. Holm spoke about the structure, RNA, nomenclature and life cycle of an influenza virus. Faisst spoke about the government response to the typical flu season and the extra precautions taken this year in response to the H1N1 pandemic.
Miller and Faisst stressed the mild nature of H1N1, both stating that it is treated like the common flu and that patients with flu-like symptoms are not being tested to differentiate between the seasonal and H1N1 strain. Symptoms of either strain include fever, cough, headache, aches and mild nausea. Students exhibiting these symptoms are encouraged to stay out of class.
“Don’t go to work, to class, to the field hockey game or that football game or the library,” said Miller. “The target age [for H1N1] is six months to 24-years-old. Say hello to 2,500 Colgate students.”
Miller said that 1.5 percent of students have already had the flu or flu-like symptoms this semester.