Breaking: Confirmed H1N1 Case at R/GA Causes Pandemonium

By Matt Van Hoven 

Sources inside R/GA tell us the agency has one confirmed case of H1N1. We won’t identify the person in question, but we hear he/she is being treated.

But details about how the issue is being handled internally are coming out, and all signs point to irresponsibility by the infected person’s managing director. We’re told the dir. told the employee not to tell anyone, and to go home. Naturally, people found out, and now the 4th floor is (at this very moment) in a state of semi-chaos.

“PEOPLE ARE FLEEING,” one source tells me. “The whole 4th floor is hysterical right now.”


Another interesting tidbit just came to our attention regarding R/GA’s sick policy. Writes a spy, “Here at R/GA if you stay home sick, you loose a vacation day so there isn’t much incentive for people to stay away… sick or not.” This note was preceded by a sentence indicating at least one other person who sits near the confirmed H1N1 case is also ill.

Update: The agency issued an e-mail, indicating that the H1N1 sufferer is “recuperating at home”. Get well soon! And relax, everyone, it’s the flu. E-mail posted after the jump.

Update 2:
Folks on the 4th floor are no longer fleeing, and the crazed-ness has become limited to a few people. But you should know the person who’s sick was listed as a judge of a cookie eating contest on Monday, which was open to everyone at the agency. We aren’t sure if he/she was at work that day, though.

More: “R/GA: No Money, Mo Problems”

We’ve learned that one of our colleagues in the New York office has been diagnosed with the H1N1 flu (otherwise known as the Swine Flu). The individual is out of the office and is recuperating at home.

Based on what we know from the Centers for Disease Control and experts in contact with IPG’s Preparedness office the virus has been causing generally mild flu-like symptoms including fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue similar to seasonal influenza. Being in close proximity to an individual with the flu does not necessarily mean that you will become sick. That means there is a good chance that if you are not currently symptomatic, you are unlikely to contract the flu.

The best advice to avoid the flu is to follow good personal hygiene practices.

Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners (at least 60% alcohol) can be used if soap and water are not available.
Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. Germs spread this way.
Avoid close contact with sick people. Practice good health habits including adequate sleep, eating nutritious food, and keeping physically active.
If you are sick, please stay home. If you have influenza-like illness symptoms, stay home for 7 days after symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. Following these recommendations will help keep you from infecting others and spreading the virus.
If you believe you are experiencing flu-like symptoms we recommend contacting your personal physician. IPG has also offered to make their outside consultant, Dr. Greenwald available if you have any medical questions or concerns related to H1N1.