State Watch

Health officials to investigate flu outbreak of over 500 students at University of Michigan

The Michigan Wolverines are seen ahead of a game against Penn State in 2020
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Officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) are investigating a “large and sudden” outbreak of over 500 flu cases at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.

Since Oct. 6, the university has seen 528 influenza cases on campus. Seventy-seven percent of those infected were unvaccinated against influenza, according to a statement from the university.

The University Health Service (UHS) also added that cases spiked in the past two weeks with 313 cases. The week before that had 198 cases. 

Along with the CDC’s team, the Washtenaw County Health Department, the Michigan Department of Health and Human Services and the university’s administration will coordinate on the investigation to assess how the flu is spreading and to study vaccine effectiveness.

Juan Luis Marquez, medical director at the Washtenaw County Health Department, said that the size of the outbreak is “unusual.”

“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,” Lindsey Mortenson, UHS medical director, added in the school’s statement. 

The university also noted that officials are calling on students to get the entire community vaccinated against the flu as quickly as possible, especially as students prepare to travel home for Thanksgiving. 

Across the state of Michigan, state data indicated that people were more behind in getting vaccinated against the flu this year than in prior years.  

The Hill has reached out to the University of Michigan for comment.

Tags flu outbreak Flu season Influenza

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