CDC Investigates 'Unusual' Flu Outbreak at University

University of Michigan surge in cases could be a sign of things to come for the rest of country
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 16, 2021 4:06 PM CST
CDC Investigates 'Unusual' Flu Outbreak at University
Angell Hall at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor.   (Getty Images/espiegle)

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention experts have been sent to the University of Michigan's Ann Arbor campus to learn more about a surge in flu cases—and what it might mean for the rest of the country as flu season approaches. Some 528 cases have been diagnosed at the campus since Oct. 6, most of them in the last two weeks, the University Record reports. Almost 80% of cases were diagnosed in people who hadn't had flu shots. "While we often start to see some flu activity now, the size of this outbreak is unusual," says Juan Luis Marquez, medical director at the Washtenaw County Health Department, per the Detroit Free Press.

The CDC team plans to work with state and local teams to analyze vaccine effectiveness, rates of uptake, and patterns of infection, reports Michigan Daily. "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," says Lindsey Mortensen, director of UM’s University Health Service, per MLive.

Authorities say the flu outbreak hasn't affected the wider community, but they are urging people to get vaccinated as soon as possible—especially students who will be traveling to different parts of the country for Thanksgiving. When stacked up against previous years, authorities say the numbers show Michigan residents are behind on their flu vaccinations, the Daily reports. Officials say many measures effective against COVID also prevent the spread of the flu, including getting vaccinated, washing your hands frequently, and staying home when you're sick. (Read more flu stories.)

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