52 States in 8 Months

The swine flu comes to UD

Posted in Newark by Ulf on April 29, 2009

img22451451a8c9d48596A few minutes ago the University of Delaware dispatched an automated voice message on our phones. This is what I remember:

This is a UD health alert. Four UD students have been identified with influenza that meets probable definitions for swine flu. Visit UD’s homepage for more information.

Okay, nothing really serious so far, these are no confirmed cases yet. But wait. I got this call, my room mate got this call plus a text message and my lessors even got this call twice, both on their home phone and on their cell phone. That alert has reached me five times within 15 minutes.

Or was it really always the same alert? I mean, how do I know the difference between one alert just being repeated, and consecutive alerts occurring? Maybe these were five distinct health alerts? Wow, that’s 5·4=20 UD students with the flu in just 15 minutes, or 80 in an hour. By tomorrow morning roughly 600 UD students will be affected, and that is only a linear extrapolation. I guess I’ll also be infected by tomorrow evening at the latest, and this is not a joke[1]!

The UD health alert can be found here. It lists possible symptoms for the swine flu. These include fever and body aches for example. The UD doesn’t mention diarrhea although other sources say that it is common among the Mexican swine flu patients[citation needed]. The UD website also tells us to seek care from our personal physicians if we experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Stuffy nose
  • Cough

It’s in the middle of the night, I’m tired. I have to choose: I can either go to the doctor because of my fatigue symptoms (it might be the swine flu!), or I can drink coffee to cure it. I guess I’ll simply go to bed.

Edit: The UD website has been changed, this is the new health alert. Now they only make us go to our personal physicians if we’re experiencing flu-like symptoms. Well, that makes sense. But wait. They only want “faculty and staff” to go to the physicians if they experience any symptoms. WTF?

[1] My room mate made me promise not to make any jokes about the UD Health Alert or the swine flu, so that’s why I mean it serious.

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3 Responses

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  1. Martin said, on April 29, 2009 at 7:55 am

    “I have to choices” Yea, it was a good choice to take the third and go to bed :P. And I really like the citation needed tag :). It reminds me of this:
    http://xkcd.com/285/

  2. Ulf said, on April 29, 2009 at 8:41 am

    thx for the remark.
    Yes, actually, I was also inspired by that very xkcd comic.

  3. Tommy said, on April 30, 2009 at 2:45 pm

    lol … reminds me of the UCSB alert system. Here’s a quote from some emergency text messages: “… to be in possession of a handgun. Police officers have been checking the area, and are looking for a black male adult, 6ft 3in tall, wearing a green jacket and blue jeans. He is in company of a black female, 5ft 6in tall, wearing …” … very entertaining, sometimes. ;-)


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