Community urged to follow government recommendations for Mexico travel

April 29, 2009

Penn State officials continue to closely monitor developments in the international outbreak of swine influenza that has sickened people in Mexico, the United States and Canada. As of 11 a.m. today (April 29), there were 91 confirmed cases in the U.S., but no cases reported in Pennsylvania. There is no immediate impact on Penn State or its community, operations or activities, and there is no cause for alarm.

However, a recent U.S. State Department travel advisory has recommended caution on any travel to Mexico (, and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention also has issued a statement warning against any non-essential travel to that country ( In light of these two announcements, Penn State officials strongly recommend that all students, faculty and staff defer travel to Mexico.

If any faculty or staff have planned travel to Mexico between now and June 30 for University business — whether academic, nonacademic or research-related — they should contact Caroline Sheldon in the University Office of Global Programs at (814) 863-3989 or e-mail her at, to evaluate the trip and receive recommendations on how to minimize the risk of illness or other problems related to travel in Mexico.

University officials remind faculty and students that if they have planned short-term travel abroad as an embedded part of an academic course, in compliance with University Policy FN20, they should submit this information and necessary documentation as outlined in the Embedded Education Abroad Programs Checklist. Under FN20, information on any organized or sponsored international academic experience (graduate or undergraduate), which is supplemental or embedded within an academic course must be submitted. The information is used to assist the University in alerting all travelers to health and safety concerns in the travel destination and for contacting faculty and students if an emergency arises.

Employees or students who experience flu-like symptoms — a fever of 100 F (37.8 C) or higher, runny nose, cough, respiratory congestion, body aches, sore throat — are asked to stay home from work or school to keep from making others ill and to get the required rest and care you may need. If ill, contact your regular health care provider for additional advice.

In addition to having flu-like symptoms, individuals who have traveled to Mexico in the last seven days or who have been exposed to someone with the flu in the last seven days should seek treatment from their regular health care provider. Students should call the student health service on their campus or their regular health care provider.

The University has developed comprehensive plans for protecting the safety and well-being of students, staff and faculty in the event of large-scale flu infections. As part of Penn State's standard procedure in issues related to public health, University officials continue to work closely with local and state health officials to share information and respond as appropriate. The most effective action for people to continue to practice is good personal hygiene and common sense strategies for minimizing infection, such as hand washing. Visit for more information on precautions to take to stay healthy.

For more information and health tips related to swine flu, visit the following Web sites:

Penn State Live at

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention at

The World Health Organization at


(Media Contacts)

Last Updated May 04, 2009