Aug. 8, 2002
Dr. James E. Cofer, President of The University of Louisiana at Monroe, released ULM's West Nile Encephalitis Action Plan on Thursday afternoon during a press conference held on the ULM campus. In releasing the plan, President Cofer emphasized that this plan will be reviewed and revised as appropriate until this situation is resolved.
On Monday, President Cofer authorized a series of actions designed to assess the current condition and to form the basis for developing a "responsible, realistic plan" in cooperation with the other agencies that are working diligently to respond to the West Nile threat.
"While we cannot guarantee the personal safety of every individual on this campus, what we can do is help people reduce their risk," said President Cofer.
ULM's plan involves five key components: conducting a campus-wide awareness/public education campaign; providing mosquito repellent on campus; actively identifying and reducing mosquito breeding areas on campus property; pre-spraying to offer protection for outdoor/special events both athletic and non-athletic; and continuing to work cooperatively with local, state, and federal agencies to address this issue.
Camile Currier, Assistant Dean for Student Affairs, and Hank Largin, Assistant Athletic Director Information and Communications, provided details from the action plan for the media.
Citing that their role was "critical in this process," President Cofer urged the media both on campus and within the community at large to help ULM educate the public about what steps ULM is taking, and what steps the public can take, to protect themselves and reduce risk.
"This is serious business, and we are taking it seriously --- and we will continue to take it seriously until this situation is resolved," said President Cofer.
ULM Related Research Contact:
Dr. Kevin Baer
West Nile Encephalitis Action Plan
ULM's West Nile Encephalitis Action Plan has five principle components that seek to educate/raise general awareness of the seriousness of the situation and which identify the steps that are being taken to reduce the risks to our campus population. This plan will be modified as necessary until the situation is resolved.
* Campus-wide Awareness Campaign for Educating Students, Faculty, Staff, and Visitors about West Nile
- Student Affairs is working with Public Affairs to get educational information about the virus and steps one can take to lessen the likelihood of exposure out through the PowWow, KEDM, and KXUL for campus coverage, and through the student organizations for distribution through their leadership.
- Student Affairs, in cooperation with the Glenwood Medical Center's Encephalitis Informational Campaign, is developing an informational flyer for distribution throughout campus including at residence hall check-in. In addition, Glenwood Medical Center has provided posters and flyers from its own campaign for distribution at strategic points around campus.
- Public Affairs is developing announcements for the ULM closed circuit television station announcement board to raise campus awareness to the dangers.
- Public Affairs will work with the PowWow staff, KEDM, and KXUL to help them prepare information/PSA's for raising awareness among the campus population of the precautions that should be taken to avoid infection as well as the symptoms of the disease.
- ULM will provide timely updates to the newsmedia concerning plans and actions taken in cooperation with other local, state, and Federal agencies to help suppress the epidemic where possible.
* Access to/Availability of Mosquito Repellent on Campus
- Student Affairs will provide free mosquito spray in the lobbies of all ULM residence halls as a reminder to students of the importance of using repellent.
- The ULM Bookstore will stock mosquito repellent and offer it for sale at our cost.
- ULM has purchased foggers to facilitate spraying on campus by our grounds crews.
* Active Identification/Reduction of Mosquito Breeding Areas Throughout Campus
- ULM is actively reducing standing water areas. On Monday, officials conducted a walking tour of the campus and located four areas of standing water. Three were filled in, and the fourth --- a jumping pit for track and field --- was pumped dry.
- ULM grounds crews have been instructed to remove open containers and other water traps timely as well as to reduce overgrowth in weeded and/or landscaped areas.
* Timing of/Precautions for Outdoor Events/Special Events
- At this time, no outdoor events are being rescheduled. Instead, ULM has taken steps in cooperation with Mosquito Abatement to coordinate spraying with scheduled events to provide protection for participants and fans.
- Grovestock and tailgating will be held in the Grove as planned, with repellent spraying conducted prior to each gathering.
- The ULM football stadium and grounds will be sprayed on August 30 for the high school Football Jamboree that will be held in Malone Stadium on that date.
- Athletic fields will be mowed every two to three days.
- Athletes will be provided with mosquito repellent prior to every practice.
- Athletic fields will be sprayed daily seven days a week if teams are practicing on the weekends.
- Athletics is initiating an education program among the student athletes making them aware of the symptoms and having them report to the sports medicine staff immediately if they believe they are experiencing these symptoms.
- The football team will practice as scheduled from 8-10 in the morning, and from 6-8 every evening. Other teams including soccer will practice as scheduled.
* Related ULM Research:
Dr. Kevin Baer, Associate Professor of Pharmacy and specialist
in environmental and aquatic toxicology in ULM's College of Pharmacy
and Health Sciences, has conducted research in several related
areas and has incorporated much of this information in his coursework
at the University. Topics include the health implications of
the specific chemicals that are being used both by the general
public through over-the-counter commercial sprays (DEET, for
example) and those being applied by the various public agencies.