Posted by: rcieri | November 15, 2009

H1N1 flu cases prevalent in many Southeast colleges

September 15, 2009

By Rachel Cieri

According to the American Collegiate Health Association’s national survey, Elon is not the only college in the Southeast on alert with cases of the H1N1 flu virus. The weekly survey, which collects data on student cases from 236 institutions, reported that cases of flu-like illness in college students in the Southeast are more than four times more prevalent than in other areas of the country.

The Southeast reported a total of 3,339 cases since the project’s inception in January, while neighboring regions are reporting numbers that haven’t yet reached 1,000. The southeastern region surveyed includes institutions from North Carolina to Florida and reaches as far west as Tennessee and Alabama.

Similarly, the U.S. Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network reports a more than 5 percent increase in outpatient flu cases in the Southeast.

North Carolina is one of 11 states currently reporting widespread influenza activity, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention. The ACHA also reported 73 percent of institutions surveyed have had instances of the H1N1 virus.

Several colleges in South Carolina have reported varying numbers of H1N1 flu cases, including 120 cases at Clemson University, seven at the University of South Carolina and two at The College of Charleston.

The University of Georgia is experiencing one of the largest outbreaks in the region, with more than 300 confirmed or suspected flu outbreaks. Nearby, Georgia Tech reported more than 200 students with flu-like symptoms.

Health officials noted that campuses with higher numbers of flu cases tend to be those that held fraternity and sorority recruitment before classes began.

So far, only two college students are known to have died from H1N1 complications. Both David Skorton of Cornell University and Andrew Salter of Troy University had underlying medical complications that contributed to their deaths.

Some colleges, like Emory University, have confined large numbers of flu victims to a single dorm as a containment measure. Similar to Elon’s containment plans, these students are confined to their rooms, do not attend class and receive free meals inside the dorm.

Davidson College has employed a similar strategy, designating two “break rooms” — one for males and one for females — for flu victims.

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