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Chief Seattle Council, Boy Scouts of America
Council Policy
Potentially Contagious Diseases

Given the increasing questions we have been receiving here as well as that mentioned in the media, we have a council wide policy regarding ill scouts and how we deal with them.

As you know, the H1N1 virus (swine flu) has been declared a pandemic by the CDC mainly because of the spread of reported cases NOT the severity of disease.  The only concern regarding this virus is that it is a new virus to the human population and therefore the effects are not completely known.  Most likely it is much like other viruses that we have encountered, however this knowledge will not be comforting to parents who send their sons to our facilities where there is a lot of intermingling.  The following steps should be taken:

  1. Any Scout that presents with a fever (100.4 F or 38 C) and either vomiting or diarrhea should be isolated and sent home immediately. Prior to camp, all ill Scouts should remain at home.
  2. Any Scout that becomes ill regardless of the reason during the week should be isolated and sent home immediately.
  3. If for some reason a Scout cannot be sent home immediately, they should be sent to the emergency room/urgent care clinic for further evaluation.
  4. For any group meals, hand washing should be a mandatory action enforced by the camp management with the help of adult leadership.
  5. It should be the responsibility of the camp that some form of disinfection protocol be undertaken.  For example at camp, the Commissioners will carry a spray bottle with bleach water each day and spray the faucet handles in the troop kybos and drinking fountains.  This is in addition to the usual cleaning that the troops do.

Sharing of food by hand should be discouraged.  Everything should have a utensil associated with it (tongs, spoons, etc.). 

These simple measures will prevent the transmission of ANY disease and is just common sense.  The Chief Seattle Council has the policy to send Scouts home who are sick as there is absolutely no reason for them to remain in camp regardless of what caused them to be sick.

Michael McNellis, MD
June 23, 2009