Public Health

Animals and Birds - Dead or Injured

Injured, or dead animals and birds may be reported to EH&S at (206) 616-1623 or (206) 543-7209.

To learn more about West Nile Virus, please visit our West Nile Virus Information web page.

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Pest Concerns

Insects, rodents, and other life forms constantly try to make their homes on and in University buildings. If you have a pest concern, we suggest that you attempt to characterize it as either simple, where the pest carries no disease and does not attack, or urgent, where a pest might carry disease, bite, or sting. An example of the former would be silverfish in an office; the latter could include a swarm of honeybees near a sidewalk, a yellow jacket nest in a window frame, or a rat that has been discovered running around in an office.

For service with simple pest problems, you can submit the Pest Sighting Report. Complete the form and click "Send Form." Be sure to report as many significant details about the observation as you can, especially the pest's exact location, activities, etc. Service will be provided the next scheduled service day or you will be called to arrange a suitable time.

Report urgent pest problems to the University Sanitarian's office at (206)-543-7209 or (206)-543-9510. Your concern will be evaluated, prioritized, and service arranged.

The UW employs a pest control contractor who serves the main campus daily. The contractor is available occasionally at other times for emergency situations. Service will be provided the same day if possible or the following day after you advised us of your problem.

If you fail to receive service, have concerns with what was provided or need follow-up, call 206.543.7209 for assistance.

Click on Bedbugs and Their Control for information regarding this pest.

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Swimming Pools and Spas

The UW has two swimming pools and two therapy spas. The larger pool is at the Intramural Activities (IMA) building and holds 260,000 gallons. The intercollegiate competition pool is in the Hec Edmundson Pavilion and also is used for recreational swimming; it holds 180,000 gallons. The spas, one hot and one cold, provide aqua therapy to injured athletes.

Both pools are monitored constantly by automated sensor units which test pH, free chlorine, hardness, alkalinity, and temperature, values of which can be read out by the operator from any computer, whether elsewhere on campus, or even at home. Lifeguards and operators also test the waters several times daily to verify sensors' reported data. Water is tested for bacteria monthly. The university's pool operators who control the pools' mechanical systems are certified by a national organization. Approximately every three years the pools are totally emptied to allow maintenance, e.g., changing the water and underwater lights, overhauling equipment, and re-grouting tiles.

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Stomach Flu (Norovirus) Prevention

What is Norovirus?

  • This is the scientific term for a family of viruses. All cause the same illness, which may be called:
    • Stomach flu
    • Winter vomiting syndrome
    • Cruise ship syndrome
    • Several other names
  • Norovirus" was named after Norwalk, Ohio, the location of the first outbreak in the 1950s, where this virus was conclusively proven to be the cause.

Symptoms and duration

  • The dominant symptoms are nausea and vomiting. Some people get diarrhea and, sometimes, fever
  • Symptoms develop from 24 to 48 hours after exposure
  • Stomach flu is a short illness: about 12 hours of nausea and vomiting plus another 12 hours of feeling lousy
  • Victims feel better within hours after vomiting stops
  • Some people may need up to a week to recover completely
  • Norovirus is rarely fatal but the elderly, immuno-compromised and the very young are at high risk due to dehydration

How Norovirus is spread

  • Virus particles are abundant in feces and vomit
  • It takes only a very few virus particles to cause sickness
  • Spread is mostly by food or water contaminated by soiled hands
  • The virus spreads easily on toys, other objects, doorknobs or handshakes
  • Victims are contagious for 48 hours after symptoms stop
  • The virus may be airborne in restrooms or where people are vomiting

Outbreaks

  • Approximately 70% of people are susceptible to Norovirus
  • Norovirus infection often occurs in explosive outbreaks or seasonal waves. Hence the name "winter vomiting syndrome"
  • Outbreaks are often large, numbering in the hundreds
  • Outbreaks often occur in close groups of people: ships, lodges, schools, institutions, dormitories

Prevention

  • Food worker activities:
    • Allow NO bare hand contact with foods! Use gloves and utensils to manipulate ready-to-eat foods
    • Exclude from food preparation people who are sick or have recently been sick until 72 hours after their symptoms have stopped
  • Rigorously enforce hand washing
    • After using the toilet or changing diapers
    • Before eating food by hand
  • Reduce exposure to vomit
    • Avoid restrooms where people have been vomiting
    • Clean up vomit very carefully and disinfect the soiled area with a 10% bleach and water solution
    • Provide the best air circulation possible to dilute airborne droplets
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Water Concerns

If you notice water coming out of a drinking fountain or sink with an off-taste, unusual color, or odor, call the Public Health Advisors at (206) 543-7209 or (206)616-1623 for an assessment of the situation. Being able to provide details about the problem is a great help, as the more accurately and quickly a problem can be described, the faster it can be understood and a solution achieved. Campus water "problems" are almost always mechanical issues without health consequences. They are generally due to rust particles or sediment from old pipes' insides stirred up by heavy water use or plumbing repairs which stir up sediment. If you can collect a sample in a clean glass container, this will help define the problem quickly and accurately.

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