Student Health saw 30 flu cases last week

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GW Student Health Services saw 30 cases of the flu last week, an increase from last year that may be attributed to the low turnout for flu shots and the peak of the flu season.

The Hatchet reported last year that 40 people were treated for the flu in the entire month of February.

Only 1,500 students received an influenza vaccine at several locations sponsored by the SHS this year, said medical director Isabel Goldenberg.

“(That number) is not enough to have a large percentage of the student population immunized, which is the best way of protecting the community,” Goldenberg said. “Not enough students took the opportunity to protect themselves.”

On average, 5 to 20 percent of the U.S. population gets the flu each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Because the end of January tends to be the peak of influenza outbreaks, the CDC recommends vaccinations as early as September.

According to their data, last year’s flu outbreak peaked in mid-February. Vaccinations, which take about two weeks to become effective, are still being offered by the SHS to interested students.

This year’s flu season may be particularly bad because this season’s most common strain of flu is resistant to Tamiflu, a popular antiviral drug. A press release issued by the CDC said they were unsure of the implications of the resistant strain, but that it had treatment implications for healthcare professionals. The statement encouraged flu vaccinations as the first and best step in preventing the flu.

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