Marine Corps Logistics Base Albany, Ga. --
In the past few weeks, clusters of H1N1 influenza cases have emerged in our local schools.
Local hospitals have implemented their pandemic influenza response plans by restricting visitation and establishing clinics for patients with flu-like symptoms.
Although new cases of H1N1 influenza are emerging every day, the severity of symptoms associated with these cases is less severe than predicted.
The H1N1 influenza is a highly contagious virus but public health officials generally agree that this is not a public health emergency or crisis.
I want you to know that we are closely monitoring the spread of the H1N1 influenza in our area.
We have a viable and comprehensive pandemic response plan.
The Pandemic Response Working Group meets weekly to refine the plan and we are in close contact with federal, DOD, and local public health professionals in order to ensureour workforce is protected and to assess potential impacts on our mission.
During this H1N1 influenza outbreak, we must remember that our people are our most valuable asset and the source of our strength.
There are steps each of us can take to protect our families, our coworkers and ourselves.
These steps include: frequent hand-washing, cough/sneeze etiquette and social distancing. Additional precautions and detailed information on the H1N1 influenza can be found at www.flu.gov.
Perhaps the most important step you can take to prevent the spread of influenza is to stay home if you are exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
According to information from the Centers for Disease Control, you can help protect the workforce by isolating yourself from those not affected.
This will hasten your recovery from the illness and prevent exposing your coworkers to the virus.
Tehre are government Web sites available which provide additional information on how to protect yourself and your family from this virus.
Although your work is valuable; in the long term, you are much more valuable to your command if you remain home, get well, and return to work in full health.
For those service members and civilian-Marines using the Naval Branch Health Clinic here on base, medical officials ask that for those exhibiting flu-like symptoms call the clinic before arriving for appointments.
The NBHC phone number is (229) 639-5976.
Clinic officials will pass special instructions in order to take the appropriate precautions to limit the spread of any influenza virus.
The current H1N1 influenza outbreak has had minimal impact on the workforce, but the future remains uncertain.
If we each exercise a little personal responsibility, I am confident we can continue to protect the health of our personnel and complete our mission of providing the services that support the warfighter.