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News & Announcements

FLU SEASON 2017-2018

This year's flu season is particularly serious and is causing significant illness. We strongly request that you take THESE PRECAUTIONS to stop the spread of flu and help us keep our campus safe and healthy.

 

You can stay healthy by practicing these prevention tips and EVERY DAY ACTIONS


IF YOU DO GET SICK, especially if you have a FEVER, it is important to STAY HOME, take care of yourself, and follow
these instructions.

 

Be sure to see a doctor if you experience any of these WARNING SIGNS.


It is not too late to get a flu shot at home or at the Schacht Center. Students can call us for an appointment at 413-585-2250. Faculty and staff can obtain flu vaccine from primary care providers, urgent care clinics, or retail pharmacy clinics.Persons over 65 may receive a high-dose formula of vaccine.


Taking care of yourself is good for you and good for our community.

For further information about this year's flu season, see this fact sheet and FAQ's from the CDC.

 

 

Meningitis B Outbreak at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst

Fall 2017

 

In November 2017, Nearby UMASS Amherst announced an official outbreak of Meningitis Type B. At The Schacht Center, we outreached to the entire student body in late October and began offering vaccine in an effort to protect and educate our community about this serious illness. Meningitis B clinics will continue throughout the year as supply allows. Meningitis B vaccine is new since 2014, and has not been routinely recommended by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) or required for college entrance in Massachusetts. Quadrivalent, MenACWY or MCV4 forms of vaccine, such as Menveo, Menactra, or Menomune, do NOT protect against Meningitis Type B. Therefore, we urge all students to get vaccinated with Meningitis B vaccine, brand Trumenba (normally a 2-dose series, but is a 3 dose series during an outbreak) or Bexsero (a 2 dose series). Smith College Insurance covers this vaccine, and most private insurers are covering it due to the outbreak.

 

Students who started the series of vaccine at The Schacht Center can obtain additional doses off campus using these vaccine finder, trumenba finder, or Bexsero finder tools.

 

For more information, see The CDC website, our Meningitis B FAQs and COMMUNITY MENINGITIS updates.

 

We encourage students with private insurance to contact their insurance provider regarding coverage of Meningitis B vaccine. Please see this Meningitis B Insurance Authorization form.

 

An Important Announcement regarding Allergy Shots

Effective May 2018 The Schacht Center for Health and Wellness and Pelham Medical Center will no longer offer allergy immunotherapy treatment, including injection or sublingual therapy, commonly referred to as "Allergy Shots." Students and families are urged to review our full announcement and contact LOCAL ALLERGISTS to set up care now.

 

West Nile Virus

August 31, 2015

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health has reported the first human case of West Nile Virus. The DPH has not yet determined where in Massachusetts the infection occurred. Please take mosquito precautions when outdoors. Click here to learn more.

Measles

February 5, 2015

As you may know, there is an increasing outbreak of measles in the country. In order to decrease your risk of becoming sick with measles, this is a good time to review your immunization/immunity status and consider vaccination if needed.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, individuals born in the U.S. prior to 1957 are likely immune to measles. However, to increase the likelihood of protection, those individuals should consider receiving a dose of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine or having a blood test to check for immunity.

Individuals born in the U.S. in or after 1957 should have two doses of a measles-containing vaccine to be considered immune (or have a blood test that demonstrates immunity).

Individuals born outside of the U.S., regardless of age, should have two doses of measles-containing vaccine to be considered immune (or a blood test that demonstrates immunity).

Students may receive the measles vaccine or discuss their immune status at Health Services. Staff and faculty should contact their primary care providers regarding their immunization status or if they have any questions.

In the event that a case of measles affects the Smith community, individuals exposed who are considered susceptible (inadequate vaccinations and/or lack of protective titers) will be excluded from campus during a period of time determined by the Massachusetts Department of Public Health.

If at any point you think you may have measles, please stay at home or in your room, and call your primary care provider or Health Services if you are a student. It is important that healthcare providers know in advance that you may have measles so they can take measures to protect others when you do visit.

For additional information, visit www.cdc.gov/features/measles.

Smith College Ebola Guidelines

December 5, 2014

As Smith College continues to closely monitor the evolving Ebola situation, we remain confident the risk to the campus is small. Nevertheless, to maximize the safety of our students, faculty and staff, the following measures are to be followed:

Travel to Liberia, Sierra Leone and Guinea remains strongly discouraged. The CDC continues a level 3 warning for those countries and says non-essential travel is to be avoided. Mali currently has a level 2 warning.

Students, faculty and staff who travel to Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea or Mali and have not been exposed to Ebola are to notify Health Services prior to their return to campus for clearance to return. During Winter Break, when Health Services is closed, call Campus Police. Smith will follow the CDC guidelines in monitoring student, faculty and staff health for 21 days after leaving one of these countries. For more information, visit wwwnc.cdc.gov/travel/notices/warning/ebola-liberia. For current information on Ebola, visit www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebol/index.html.

Five College Ebola Information Sheet

August 11, 2014

Although the risk of contracting Ebola in the United States is extremely low, health care staff from the Five Colleges and local boards of health are taking precautionary measures to ensure the safety and well-being of the Five College community. Members of that team have protocols in place for dealing with many different types of public health issues, but out of an abundance of caution they have also developed a specific plan to respond in the unlikely event that the diagnosis of a case of Ebola directly affecting the campus community emerges. In addition, the group is closely monitoring the outbreak in Africa and will communicate with local officials, hospitals and emergency response agencies regularly to assess the situation. What follows are some frequently asked questions and answers about Ebola.

What is Ebola?

Ebola is a severe, often fatal disease, discovered in 1976 near the Ebola River in the Democratic Republic of Congo. There have been a number of outbreaks since its identification. The current outbreak has been ongoing in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone for several months.

How is Ebola transmitted?

It is transmitted to people from wild animals, and spreads from human to human through direct contact, as when broken skin or mucous membranes come into contact with blood, bodily secretions, or needles contaminated with infected bodily fluids. Ebola is NOT airborne, foodborne or waterborne. A person is infectious to others only when they have symptoms of illness.

What are the symptoms of Ebola?

Symptoms begin abruptly with fever, malaise and headache, with diarrhea about 5 days later. Symptoms usually occur 8-10 days after direct contact with body substances of an infected person. The incubation period may be up to 21 days.

What is the risk of contracting Ebola in the Five College community?

There are a limited number of students in the Five College community who live or have traveled to the countries affected by the current Ebola outbreak. Students who were in study abroad programs in these countries over the summer are now in the U.S. and do not meet the criteria for potential suspected cases.

Should travel to that part of West Africa be cancelled?

Faculty, staff and students of the Five Colleges, in keeping with the level 3 warning from the CDC, should avoid travel to Sierra Leone, Guinea and Liberia. There are no Five College study abroad programs within these countries for the fall semester. Those planning travel to Nigeria should be aware of the level 2 warning from the CDC and monitor the situation closely.

What is being done to monitor the students who have been in the affected countries?

In the unlikely event that this situation arises, we will follow the recommendations of the Massachusetts Department of public health (MDPH) for students who know they were exposed to a person with Ebola within the previous 21 days. It is important to stress that even if students who have come from Guinea, Liberia or Sierra Leone report what appear to be relevant symptoms (fever, headache, diarrhea), these individuals are not considered a suspected case unless they have known exposure to Ebola.

What do I do if I start to feel sick?

As at any time, if you are experiencing symptoms of any infectious illness, please delay your return to campus until you have recovered and are no longer contagious. If while on campus you experience signs of illness, especially fever, vomiting or diarrhea, severe pain or weakness, or unusual bleeding or bruising, please consult promptly with your campus's health center staff.

Where can I get more information?