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Colleges Move to Limit Swine Flu's Spread
Date:9/8/2009

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"My kids just went back to college," said Moore, who spent 20 years with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as an epidemiologist. "I'm curious to see what messages they are getting. I want to make sure they are getting messages."

The CDC last week reported that with hundreds of students sick with swine flu on at least 17 U.S. college campuses, this is the highest rate of influenza infection for this time of year since the last pandemic flu, the Hong Kong flu, struck in 1968.

The rate of infections could serve as a sign of what's to come for the general problem as the flu season takes hold.

To get the attention of college students, the CDC plans to promote vaccines on popular social networking sites, such as YouTube, Facebook and Twitter.

The American College Health Association has instituted a surveillance system to monitor influenza-like illness at 165 U.S. universities with a total of 2 million students. That system logged 1,640 cases in the last week of August.

The University of Wisconsin-Madison, with 42,000 students and 18,000 faculty and staff, is one of the institutions participating in the project.

Its plan has included: e-mails to everyone on campus from the chancellor, provost or dean of students, and a flyer, What You Can Do About the Flu, handed out to students living on campus and e-mailed to all students.

That hasn't kept the virus completely at bay on campus, however.

"We are starting to see an increase in cases here. That's kind of what we expected, and it's similar to what we're seeing nationwide," said Dr. Sarah Van Orman, executive director of university health services at University of Wisconsin-Madison. "We're really stressing isolation of people who are sick and hygiene and all things that support that, making sure people are excused academically and making sure there are adequate supplies to practice good hygiene."

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