Newsroom > DHHS News Release

For Immediate Release
July 2, 2009

Contact Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or


Chief Medical Officer: Camps Should Take H1N1 Precautions

Lincoln—With camp season in full swing, the state’s Chief Medical Officer is advising that precautions be taken against the novel influenza A (H1N1).

“The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued guidance on how camps can handle ill attendees and promote safe infection control practices,” said Dr. Joann Schaefer. “It’s very important that camp personnel know the symptoms and isolate ill campers from the others.”

Camp personnel should:

    Have a plan with parents or guardians regarding how illnesses or health emergencies will be handled, including transportation of ill persons for medical care or return home that limits exposure to other persons;

    Have a relationship with the local health department and plan jointly for possible contingencies; and

    Train staff on infection control practices, how to recognize influenza-like illness and how to report possible cases to camp leadership.

    Be aware of children with special needs, including those who have compromised immune systems, asthma or diabetes. These children are the most at risk of complications of H1N1.

Other advice for camp personnel:

    Make sure running water and liquid hand soap are available, or in the alternative, alcohol-based hand sanitizers;

    Routinely clean common areas and items that are likely to have frequent hand contact, like doorknobs, faucets and handrails;

    Provide attendees and staff, prior to arrival at camp, educational materials that notify them that they are not allowed to attend camp if they have had an influenza-like illness in the seven days prior to the start of camp;

    Consider active screening of newly arriving campers and staff by asking if they have had any symptoms in the previous seven days. The symptoms of H1N1 are a fever, a cough or a sore throat, body aches, chills and congestion. Vomiting and diarrhea may also be symptoms; and

    Make sure that campers are aware of key precautions: Wash hands frequently. Cough into your sleeve or a tissue. If you are ill, stay away from others. If you are well, stay away from people who appear ill.

Once ill campers or staff have been identified, they should be immediately separated from the general population and kept away from well campers until they can be safely returned home or taken for medical care, if needed.

If the ill camper is to remain at camp, he or she should be isolated for at least seven days after symptoms began or 24 hours after symptoms conclude, whichever is longer.

“Following the CDC guidelines will prevent the spread of H1N1 in the camp environment,” Dr. Schaefer said.

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