Memo from the Director on avian flu preparedness


TO: All current and prospective study abroad students
FROM: Dr. Brian Harley, Director of Programs for Study Abroad
DATE: September 8, 2009

RE: H1N1 (Swine) Flu

The H1N1 influenza virus has not caused problems for Purdue students on study abroad, but in recent months, the Office of Programs for Study Abroad has received questions about this subject. In addition to the individual responses we have given, we are sending a communication to all study abroad participants and making the same information available on our website. It is important to us to actively provide information on this and other matters that concern you.

The safety of our students is our highest priority. We are carefully monitoring the H1N1 flu by watching governmental sources, the world media and health sources. We are also consulting regularly with colleagues in the study abroad field and with the overseas contacts for our programs. We monitor events to be certain that we act in the best interest of our students as reflected in the Purdue Policy on Security.

To summarize, the H1N1 flu is not currently considered a serious threat to Purdue students abroad, nor does it increase the chances that programs will be cancelled. We have just two pieces of advice at present.

First, keep doing the things that any student living abroad must do to stay healthy. Eat well, sleep enough, don't abuse alcohol, and get exercise to maintain a good general level of health and a strong immune system. If you feel ill, seek medical treatment promptly.

Second, review the preparations that you or any other student living abroad should have in case of an emergency, large (the flu or terrorism), or small (transportation strikes or storms). Follow current events through local and world media. See the US government's views on world safety and health at

Have adequate cash, food and other necessities on hand in case something makes you stay home for a few days. Know how to contact your program leaders and program participants in multiple ways and under any circumstances. Be conscious of these needs whether at your program site or traveling.

If safety conditions should change, be assured that Purdue students will not be permitted to study in areas where there is evidence of serious risk.  Study abroad will not be allowed in any location that is subject to a US Department of State Travel Warning, and locations under a Travel Advisory will receive extensive scrutiny.

If a program needs to be suspended while in progress, every reasonable effort will be made to ensure that students can complete their coursework at alternate locations, and we will do all we can to refund any unspent program funds to students.

If there should be an emergency of any kind, whether related to health, politics or weather, we encourage you to stay in touch with your program leader and other program participants.  We also encourage you to take responsibility for not relaying information about the emergency unless you know that it is accurate.

If you wish to discuss your safety, or the safety conditions at any of our study abroad locations, please contact the Office of Programs for Study Abroad at 765-494-2383.

Also, please contact the Purdue University H1N1 Flu websdite for more information.