Number of new flu-like cases drops this week
There have been a total of 479 cases of influenza-like illness (ILI) on campus since Aug. 30, University spokeswoman Emily Aronson said Thursday afternoon. This figure represents a 17 percent increase from the figure released on Oct. 15, when the total was 409 cases, and it appears the spread of the disease may be slowing. The Oct. 15 figure represented a 57.3 percent rise from the 260 cases reported Oct. 5.
University Health Services has identified 45 active cases of flu-like illness — down from 62 at this time last week. Active cases are defined as cases identified within the past 72 hours, Aronson said.
The slowing spread of ILI appears to be in line with national trends. On Oct. 15, Inside Higher Ed reported that American College Health Association (ACHA) President Jim Turner said there is “a drop-off in disease now at many campuses and in many parts of the country.”
From Oct. 10 to Oct. 16, the ACHA announced that a total of 7,099 new ILI cases were reported on college campuses, and 95 percent of the 278 colleges and universities surveyed reported new ILI cases.
Data collected by the ACHA between Oct. 3 and Oct. 9 also showed that outbreaks of flu-like symptoms may have peaked in the Northeast, Southeast and Mid-Atlantic, according to Inside Higher Ed.
Though the numbers are dropping off, the University still does not know when it will receive the H1N1 vaccine, Aronson said.
“We are awaiting notification from the state about when we’ll receive vaccines,” she said in an e-mail. “We plan to make information available about vaccine distribution when we receive final information about timing from the state.”
Yale will receive its first shipment of the H1N1 vaccine this week, the Yale Daily News reported on Oct. 9.
Harvard is expecting to get the vaccine in two or three weeks, The Harvard Crimson reported on Oct. 16.
Aronson also said that the University has a “broad outline” for a plan “should the severity or nature of the illness change.”
“We certainly think it’s prudent to have a broad outline. But if we were to try to explore in a news article what the various contingencies might be if the nature of the flu changes, it would put us in a challenging position of having to re-educate the campus community if the guidelines are revised,” she said, declining to comment on the specifics of the plan.
Aronson added that most students with flu-like illness are following the University’s guidelines by self-isolating, and that there are beds available at inpatient services at McCosh Health Center for students who are immuno-compromised and may need additional medical supervision.