Federal health officials are investigating an unusual Flu outbreak on the campus of the University of Michigan at Ann Arbor, where 528 cases have been reported since October 6. University officials said a sharp spike in patients over the past two weeks. During the week of November 8, there were 313 newly diagnosed cases. The previous week saw 198 points.
More than three out of four patients – 77 percent – have not been vaccinated against the A(H3N2) influenza virus. The large and sudden outbreak has prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to initiate an investigation.
A team from the CDC will work in conjunction with the Washtenaw County Health Department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, and the university. CDC officials ‘will be evaluating Flu vaccine uptake and vaccine effectiveness and risk factors for spread through data analysis, questionnaires, and sample collection of patients’ at the school, according to a statement from the university.
The outbreak is concerning due to the timing – just a week before the Thanksgiving holiday when students travel to homes nationwide to spend the weekend with family. Health officials have repeated calls for students and Ann Arbor campus to get vaccinated against influenza as soon as possible.According to the CDC, the Flu vaccination reduces the risk of contracting the illness by between 40 and 60 percent. The CDC says that the current Flu vaccines work better against influenza B and influenza A(H1NI1) viruses compared to the A(H3N2) strands.