The flu is spreading at the University of Michigan

The flu is spreading at the University of Michigan, as the CDC takes to campus to investigate its spread

University of Michigan students tour the Ann Arbor campus on Tuesday after the Washtenaw County Health Department issued an assignment order for undergraduates due to the high number of COVID-19 cases on campus.

The flu is sweeping the University of Michigan campus in Ann Arbor, with 528 cases diagnosed at the University Health Service since October 6.

The outbreak was so sudden and significant — 313 cases were identified in the week of November 8 alone, and 37% of flu tests that week were positive — that it caught the attention of federal health leaders.

A team of investigators from the CDC will be on campus this week to learn more about the spread of the virus and the effectiveness of this year's flu vaccine.

Among those who got the flu in UM this fall, 77% did not get a flu shot. The cases have been identified as influenza A (H3N2), said Lindsey Mortenson, UHS medical director, and acting CEO.

When a public health authority requests assistance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to solve a pressing public health problem, such as disease outbreaks, unexplained illnesses, and natural or human-caused disasters, the Epi-Aid team is called in to provide short-term assistance.

In Ann Arbor, the team will assess influenza vaccine uptake, vaccine efficacy, and risk factors for spread by collecting samples from patients at the university's health service, providing data analysis, and conducting surveys.

Health leaders are concerned about the timing of the surge in cases in Ann Arbor, where many students plan to travel soon for the Thanksgiving holiday. 

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