University becomes 'drive-in' force in flu preparation
“Normally, we order and administer about 2,500 seasonal flu vaccines each year,” Beck said. “Because of heightened public awareness of flu and our flu education efforts on campus, we anticipated a higher demand and doubled our order.”
Beck said she is pleased with the campus’ flu prevention response, particularly the increased numbers of students getting seasonal flu shots.
“Our efforts to reach students early and often have really helped,” said Beck. “The messages on campus about hand washing, using hand sanitizer and being aware of flu symptoms have limited the spread of H1N1 flu. Of course, there’s also a little luck.”
To date, there have been 160 patients who have tested positive for H1N1 on the Columbia campus, but that number is going up – about 25-plus each day – as the wave of H1N1 swells. Beck says health officials expect the initial wave of the H1N1 flu to peak mid-fall. An additional 30 people are treated for flu-like symptoms each day, as the existing flu tests are only 40 percent sensitive to H1N1.
The Thomson Student Health Center tests for flu because it is designated as a sentinel site by DHEC and CDC, which means it supplies virus cultures that provide critical information for health officials to use in the building of flu vaccines.