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CDC comes to U-M campus to research sudden uptick in flu cases

As flu season gets underway, a team of health experts are headed to the University of Michigan to research a large and sudden uptick of student influenza cases.

ANN ARBOR, Mich. — As flu season gets underway, a team of health experts are headed to the University of Michigan to research a large and sudden uptick of student influenza cases. 

Beginning this week, the Washtenaw County Health Department, Michigan Department of Health and Human Services, the university and a team from the CDC will study how the flu is spreading and vaccine effectiveness on campus. 

The first positive flu case was recorded on Oct. 6. Over a month later, there are 528 diagnosed cases at the University Health Service, with 77% of cases in unvaccinated individuals.

Campus has seen a large increase in cases in the past two weeks. On the week of Nov. 8, there were 313 cases at 37% test positivity. 

“Partnering with the CDC will accelerate our understanding of how this flu season may unfold regionally and nationally in the setting of the COVID-19 pandemic," said Lindsey Mortenson, UHS medical director and acting executive director. 

The surge of cases comes at a time when many students plan to travel home for Thanksgiving break.

Due to low levels of flu activity last season, many are still unvaccinated against the flu this year.

Officials say the entire community should get vaccinated as soon as possible. Many of the same tools used to prevent COVID-19 should be used to prevent the spread of the flu, including masks, hand-washing and staying home when sick. 

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