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Division of Student Affairs

Influenza Season

January 24, 2020


Dear UCM Community -

According to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) influenza activity is high across much of the United States. So far, influenza B/Victoria viruses have been reported more frequently than other influenza viruses this season, but this may be changing. It’s not too late to get protected! It is recommended that anyone over the age of 6 months get a flu shot, and especially people with chronic medical conditions who are at high-risk for flu-related complications.

This season, we are all aware of the emergence of the novel 2019 Coronavirus from Wuhan, Hubei Province, China. Several airports in the United States, including SFO and LAX, have started screening returning travelers from the area for symptoms, and a first case has been reported in the United States. 

Please be assured that, while we are monitoring the situation closely, we are not aware of any Coronavirus cases involving our campus community, nor of anyone in our community who has traveled to areas affected by this outbreak. Nevertheless, we are working in concert with the Merced Department of Public Health and other UC campuses to be prepared. If you have returned from Wuhan, China in the past 14 days and have fever or respiratory symptoms, please call the Student Health Center at 209-228-2273, and speak with a nurse before seeking care unless it’s an emergency. 

We do anticipate a rise in influenza cases on campus as students continue to return from Winter Break. To help reduce the burden of influenza on campus, the Student Health Center is advising students with flu-like illness to follow CDC recommendations for self-isolation and not return to class or work until at least 24 hours after they are free of fever or signs of fever.

Flu symptoms can include fever or feeling feverish/chills, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscles and body aches, headache, fatigue, sometimes diarrhea and vomiting. Most people who get the flu do not need medical care or antiviral drugs. If you get sick with flu symptoms, in most cases, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people until you are fever-free.

Methods to prevent the spread of influenza, and other viruses:

  • Cover your coughs and sneezes into a tissue or your sleeve (not your hands).
  • Wash your hands with soap and water, frequently, and certainly before/after touching your face or a sick person.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth.
  • Clean, disinfect surfaces and objects contaminated with germs.
  • Get a flu vaccine if you have not yet received one this season!

Haven’t received your flu shot yet? Contact your primary care provider or visit one of the local pharmacies that provide flu shots. Use the CDC’s HealthMap Vaccine Finder to locate the pharmacy nearest to you. Be sure to contact them ahead of your visit to ensure they are still offering flu shots and that they accept your health insurance!

SHS will be monitoring national and local developments on influenza and coronavirus closely, and will issue appropriate communications as the situation changes. In the meantime, stay well, protect yourself, and instructors please be flexible in dealing with student absences.

We appreciate your cooperation in maintaining the health of the campus community.


Michelle Brinkop MD

Staff Physician

Rajender Reddy Student Health Center


Charles Nies, PhD

Vice Chancellor, Student Affairs