Guidance for Camps on Influenza
June 21, 2010
This document provides guidance to help prevent and control the spread of influenza (flu), including 2009 H1N1 flu, among campers and camp staff during the 2010 summer camp season. This guidance updates and replaces the previous camp guidance on "novel influenza A (H1N1 flu) virus" that was issued on June 25, 2009.
April 2009 marked the beginning of the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic. One year later, as of April 2010, flu activity is low nationwide, although 2009 H1N1 flu continues to be reported in small numbers. Sporadic flu activity, caused by either 2009 H1N1 or seasonal flu viruses, is expected to continue throughout the summer in the United States, but far fewer outbreaks are expected than occurred during the summer of 2009.
The best way to protect against flu, including 2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu, is to get vaccinated. The H1N1 influenza vaccine is still available from local health departments and many medical providers. Everyday preventive actions also help slow the spread of germs that cause respiratory illnesses like flu. Camps should continue to strongly promote respiratory etiquette and hand hygiene (covering coughs and sneezes and washing hands); encourage sick campers and staff to stay home and/or away from others for at least 24 hours after they no longer have a fever without the use of fever reducing medicine; and routinely clean areas and objects, especially those that are used often.
General Influenza Guidance
General guidence for the 2010 camps season is available on the Centers for Disease Control's website, www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/camp.htm. It includes pre-camp planning, prevention and control recommendations, and links to other resources.
New York State Specific Guidance
Since flu activity is low nationwide, camps should implement standard disease control/prevention precautions for this camp season. These precautions provide protection against a wide variety of illnesses and include:
- Collecting and maintaining vaccination records for campers and staff for all vaccine preventable diseases. Although vaccinations against the flu (2009 H1N1 and seasonal flu) are not mandated for campers and staff to attend camp, both are strongly encouraged. The 2009 H1N1 vaccine is still available. You should encourage staff and campers to be vaccinated before they arrive at camp. Guidance for vaccine preventable diseases is available at www.nyhealth.gov/prevention/immunization/schools/2010_childrens_camp_operator_letter.htm
- Screening new camper/staff as they arrive at camp for any current or recent illness.
- Conducting daily health surveillance of campers/staff for symptoms of illness.
- Excluding/isolating ill campers/staff from activities and well individuals.
- Reporting incidents of illness suspected of being communicable to the local health department that has jurisdiction.
If an illness outbreak occurs, immeadiately contact your local health department. Additional guidance for handling outbreaks at children's camps is provided at www.nyhealth.gov/environmental/outdoors/camps/outbreaks.htm