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Swine Flu on Campuses Boosts Call for Vaccinations
Date:9/1/2009

college cases will turn into widespread flu outbreaks around the country. Since the H1N1 virus emerged last spring, children and young adults have been particularly vulnerable to infection.

Last week, the World Health Organization warned countries in the Northern Hemisphere to prepare for a return wave of infections. So far, the H1N1 swine flu virus has caused 2,185 deaths and more than 209,000 infections globally, the WHO said.

Still, health officials stress that infection from the H1N1 swine flu virus continues to result in mild illness and quick recovery for most people, much like the regular seasonal flu.

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

The college campus is a petri dish of sorts for the flu, according to health experts.

"You can envision 200 young people being stuffed into the basement of a smoky fraternity -- what a perfect breeding ground for disease," said Jim Turner, director of the department of student health at the University of Virginia and president of the American College Health Association. He is tracking college outbreaks in the United States.

Once the swine flu vaccine becomes available, federal officials say that priority should be given to children and young adults, health-care workers, pregnant women, adults with underlying health conditions, and parents and caretakers of children under age 6.

More information

For more on swine flu, visit the CDC.



-- Margaret Steele



SOURCE: Bloomberg, Aug. 31, 2009; CVS, news release, Aug. 31, 2009


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