1. Whooping Cough (Pertusis)
South Australia is experiencing a sustained outbreak of pertussis (whooping cough) which places children under 6 months of age at risk of disease and complications as they are too young to be fully immunised.
For more information about Whooping Cough, take a look at the fact sheet published by Department of Health, South Australia
Vaccination can be provided by University Health (http://www.adelaide.edu.au/student/health/). The consultation cost can be bulk-billed, with patients only paying for the cost of the vaccination itself. Contact University Health for more information.
The State Government is also providing free vaccine to parents and grandparents of children less than six months of age who hold a health care card or a pensioner concession card (PCC). More information is available via the following link:
2. International Influenza/Viral Outbreaks
The World Health Organization (WHO) periodically reports outbreak of viruses which have the potential to cause a pandemic. See the following WHO website links about outbreaks of global concern in recent times:
Actions by the University
The University of Adelaide has a Pandemic Action Plan and Working Party which is currently monitoring the global situation and possible impacts on the University of Adelaide, for more information please contact the Manager, Health Safety and Wellbeing.
The reported symptoms of pandemic influenza in humans have ranged from general unwell feeling or typical influenza-like symptoms (eg fever, cough, sore throat, and muscle aches) to eye infections (conjunctivitis), pneumonia, acute respiratory distress, viral pneumonia, and other severe and life-threatening complications (source The US Centre for Disease Control).
To prevent yourself from catching and spreading the flu and other viruses you should adopt some simple practices.
Cover your mouth and nose when you sneeze or cough:
- turn away from other people
- cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or your sleeve
- use disposable tissues rather than a handkerchief (which could store the virus)
- put used tissues into the nearest bin, rather than a pocket or handbag
- wash your hands, or use an alcohol based hand cleanser, as soon as possible afterwards
- wash your hands regularly.
Always wash your hands:
- after you've been to the toilet
- after coughing, sneezing or blowing your nose
- after being in contact with someone who has a cold or flu
- before touching your eyes, nose or mouth
- before preparing food and eating.
Don't share personal items:
- keep personal items, such as towels, bedding and toothbrushes separate
- do not share eating and drinking utensils, food or drinks.
- if a member of your household has the flu, you should regularly clean surfaces such as tables, benches, fridge doors and door knobs with soap and water or detergent.
Avoid close contact with others if you are unwell with flu:
- keeping your distance from others by standing or sitting back - at least one metre apart, where possible
- while you are unwell you should remain at home and avoid going out in public, with the exception of a medical appointment. If you are unwell, you should not go to work or school or attend other public or crowded gatherings, and avoid taking public transport.
For further information please refer to Australian Government Department of Health and Ageing.
Attendance at University
If a staff member or student exhibits symptoms of a pandemic influenza, they must immediately remove themselves from the workplace/classroom and report to their doctor or University Health about their symptoms and inform the doctor if they have been overseas.
Staff and students should:
- discuss travel with a doctor or University Health
- obtain permission if you are a staff/student travelling on University business to a Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) level 4 (reconsider your need to travel) or level 5 (do not travel) location, refer to University Travel policy
- check the DFAT website for travel warnings, restrictions, emergency planning; immunisations and prevention before commencing travel
- register and maintain contact with Australian Embassy/Consulate, registration can be completed online at the DFAT website
- follow any instructions given to you by University or consular officials
- seek medical attention if unwell on arrival in Australia.
Frequently Asked Questions by Students
Will the University quarantine me if I come from a Pandemic Influenza affected country?
In the past the Department of Health monitored arrivals at airports for individuals who may have symptoms. At all times the University takes advice from the Department of Health regarding any need for quarantine.
What if I am quarantined when I arrive in Australia?
The Department of Health mayrequire you to be monitored in a hospital, motel or asked to stay at your Adelaide residence for a set period of time. If you do not develop signs of illness, you will be allowed to leave.
Please note you will only be quarantined if you are displaying symptoms or if the authorities suspect you may have the disease.
What if I am late starting my program because of Pandemic Influenza?
Situations where new students are late starting their program will be considered on a case-by-case basis. Normally, a week's delay would be considered acceptable but it will depend on what program you are enrolling in. Please contact the International Student Centre for more information if you think you are going to be late starting your program. You should also let your Faculty know you will be late.
What if I cannot start my program this semester because of Pandemic Influenza?
You will be entitled to begin your program next semester - if the program is offered next semester. If you are enrolling in a program that does not have a new intake next semester, you will be entitled to begin the semester after next without financial penalty.
Will I get a fee refund if I cannot start my program because of Pandemic Influenza?
Students who do not start their program once they have accepted an offer would normally be entitled to a refund of their fees except for 10% of their annual tuition fee. Students who wish to discuss their situation should contact the International Student Centre.
Will my overseas student health cover pay for my quarantine because of Pandemic Influenza?
No, if you are quarantined by the Australian Government because of suspected pandemic influenza, the cost of this will not be met by your overseas student health cover.
I would like to go home during the semester break but I come from a Pandemic Influenza affected country. What should I do?
Students who are considering travelling to a pandemic influenza affected country should discuss the risk of transmission with their doctor prior to their trip home. If you decide to travel home, you will need to monitor your health and seek immediate medical advice if you develop any symptoms of illness.
What if I am late arriving back because I have gone home in the break and am unable to return on time because of Pandemic Influenza?
You will need to contact the International Student Centre to let them know. You will also need to contact your lecturers to let them know about your absence from class. You will need to negotiate with your lecturers to receive extensions of time in which to complete your work. If your attendance at an examination is affected by pandemic influenza, you will need to apply for a supplementary examination on compassionate grounds.
Any other questions should be referred to the International Student Centre.
Frequently Asked Questions by Staff
I am concerned about media reports on the current influenza outbreak, what should I do?
Consult the WHO website for the most accurate and up to date information on the status of the current outbreak, also refer to the transmission section of this document. If you still have concerns contact the Manager, Health Safety and Wellbeing for advice.
What if I go to a conference in a country which currently has an influenza outbreak?
There is a real risk that you be delayed in the country under quarantine for a set period of time. Before you travel you must discuss contingencies for covering any teaching commitments with your Head of School, in case you are delayed.
I have booked travel for work and the DFAT level has risen to 4 or 5, what do I do?
You must get approval for Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) 'reconsider your need for travel' (level 4) and do not travel (level 5) travel destinations, please consult the University travel policy.
What am I to do if I think I have an infected student in my class?
Refer to the transmission section of this document and contact the Manager, Health Safety and Wellbeing for advice.
What do I do if my children have been asked to stay home from school due to an influenza outbreak?
There is currently no requirement for adults to remain away from the workplace/University. However, if you feel unwell please consult your doctor. For further information refer to the Department of Health hotline number 1802007.