Students wait in line for the H1N1 vaccine on Friday
When we reported on H1N1 cases at Georgetown in late September, the virus had infected about 250 students and the number of cases was rising precipitously every day. Infection rates have since dropped off. According to an e-mail from Dr. James Welsh, assistant vice president for student health, in the past four weeks, the number of students with Influenza-like Illnesses has dropped to about 35 per week.
Welsh wrote that so far, about 600 students have consulted the Student Health Center with H1N1 symptoms, with cases peaking throughout the month of September. (A report from the President’s Office had expected cases to peak in October).
“There continues to be however, significant signs of illness and we remained concerned about further spread within the GU community,” Welsh wrote.
As Sommer wrote in September, since that number does not include students who were sick but did not seek treatment or advice, that number is likely higher.
Last week, Georgetown received 300 doses of the nasal vaccine for H1N1, or swine flu, and distributed them to members of GERMS, Student Health Center employees, and workers in athletic training rooms, according to Assistant Vice President for Student Health, Dr. James Welsh. Nursing and medical students also received vaccines.
Only one dose was given to each person, good news for those who were worried about running out of the vaccine.
The doses given out last week were nasal, but Welsh says vaccines for the general University population will be injected. Welsh said the new doses will ideally come in the next few weeks.
According to a presidential report on H1N1, infection rates will peak into the middle of October.
Photo from Flickr user Alvi2047 used under a Creative Commons license
As of Monday, Georgetown has had around 250 cases of H1N1, or swine flu, according to an e-mail from Dr. James Welsh, Assistant Vice President for Student Health. Last Tuesday, Georgetown’s estimate was around 150, so the number has risen by 100 in 6 days.
Welsh’s estimates come from students who went to the Student Health Center with flu symptoms, students who called the H1N1 hotline or the Health Center’s doctor-on-call, and students who went to the hospital’s emergency room.
Since the number doesn’t include students who were sick but never called the hotline or received treatment, the actual number of Georgetown students sick with H1N1 is most likely higher.
For avid swine flu watchers, check out the American College Health Association’s weekly updates on H1N1 at colleges. Georgetown and other universities submit their numbers every Monday, so it’s the place to be to monitor the flu’s spread District- or nationwide.
The money will go towards funding training “evacuation processes, infectious disease outbreaks, threat assessment and business continuity plans.” It will also be used to bulk up Georgetown’s basic supplies, such as two-way radios and first aid kits.
According to the article, Norovirus and H1N1 have improved Georgetown’s emergency response capabilities, but there’s still work to be done:
“In the past year and a half, we’ve had Norovirus, and we’ve been dealing with H1N1 for six months now,” [Peter Luger, executive director of safety finance and administration,] explained. “While we still want to fill in some blanks in this plan, we’re light years ahead of where we were a year ago.”
The university is also looking to use the money to expand its community emergency response team training. It will also be used to fund an internship for graduate students interested in security studies or disaster management.
With students sharing living space, classrooms, and red solo cups, H1N1 has the potential to spread widely on campus, according to the Post:
Swine flu appears to have spread to most of the country’s colleges and universities. A weekly survey by the American College Health Association found influenza-like illness at 72 percent of schools surveyed as of Sept. 4. The flu is being contracted at a rate of about 18 cases per 10,000 students.
Hey, great to see you again! How was your summer, H1N1?
The beginning of the school year is always full of logistical challenges for college administrators, but this year they’ve got another potential problem to deal with: swine flu, which is now going by the less catchy moniker, H1N1.
Inside Higher Ed is reporting that there have already been H1N1 outbreaks at Anderson University, the University of Colorado at Boulder, the University of Kansas and the University of Tennessee at Knoxville.
According to a recent article in the Washington Post, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend that schools encourage self-isolation of sick students and consider suspending classes if any significant portion of the student body catches the virus.
Georgetown came away from this Spring’s big swine flu scare relatively unscathed, but administrators are already taking precautions as students start to return to campus. According to a campus-wide email sent out by Vice President for Student Affairs Todd Olson and Assistant Vice President for Student Health James Walsh on Friday, there have been a couple of H1N1 cases at Georgetown over the summer, but all have fully recovered and are no longer contagious.
The email said that students who currently have the flu should delay their return to campus. If you get sick while on campus, the email instructs you to call the Student Health Center’s H1N1 advice line at (202) 784-4161 and stay in your room until you’ve recovered.