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March 18, 2019 | by  | in News |
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Stay Healthy: Fresher Flu is Back

In the last few years, halls of residence at Victoria University of Wellington have been a breeding ground for contagious diseases.

Wellington’s reputation for ‘damp, cold and mouldy’ housing is uninviting for many newcomers and isn’t helped by the inevitable ‘fresher flu’ that follows an influx of 20,000 new residents.

With reports of staff and students becoming sick with the flu and other pathogens, questions have been sent to Salient about the processes the university uses to deal with infectious diseases.

Salient talked with the university and Mauri Ora to ensure that the safety of students and staff is a top priority.

All halls of residence are guided by procedures which can change depending on the situation, the severity of the illness, and advice from healthcare professionals.

According to Mauri Ora, the first step in the procedure is to isolate infectious residents. This requires the provision of separate bathroom facilities, delivery of meals and water, and keeping on-site staff and the student themselves informed.

If the student has been isolated, but the rate of infection has increased, the halls are allowed to re-house infected residents onto the same floor.

Outbreaks of contagious diseases around the country have led to calls for better funding and promotion for some vaccines.

Meningococcal disease is one potential concern for students in halls of residence, as three University of Otago students were diagnosed last year.

Measles outbreaks have hit the headlines too, with up to 55 cases identified in Canterbury and two cases confirmed in Auckland at time of publication.

Both are examples of highly infectious diseases. New Zealanders, especially those living in close quarters such as in halls of residence, are advised to get vaccinated, be hygiene-conscious, and to talk to a healthcare professional about any concerns.

Vaccinations are available at Mauri Ora. There is a flu vaccine available from April which is free for students.

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