Swine Flu Spreads As Schools Resume Classes
Hundreds of students were infected with H1N1, swine flu, as schools resumed classes for the fall in the U.S. Students in at least 17 colleges were affected.
School officials are preparing buses to transport sick students, and are also setting up isolation dorms and drive-through vaccination booths.
Mississippi University reports that more than 250 people have exhibited flu-like symptoms since July 15. The University of Kansas reports over a hundred infected since August 19th, when classes started. The outbreak comes earlier than the regular influenza season, which generally lasts from November to March. Schools are now doubling their efforts to get their students to receive vaccinations for the flu. They are also focusing on distributing hand sanitizers and posting flu safety posters.
The U.S. is undergoing the highest influenza rates for this time of year since the 1968 Hong Kong flu, said Joe Quimby, a spokesman for the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The seasonal flu usually kills around 36,000 people in the U.S. annually, according to the Center for Desease Control and Prevention. The seasonal flu has already caused 80 outbreaks this year in the United States, which the CDC says is highly unusual.
The World Health Organization has warned all countries in the Northern Hemisphere to expect outbreaks of swine flu this fall. So far, more than 200,000 people wordwide have been infected, and around 2,200 have died.