The brief increase of H1N1 Influenza during late June and early July in South Florida was accompanied by isolated incidents of flu-like illnesses at the University of Miami but only one actual case of H1N1.
“What we’re seeing is the decrease on the bell curve of incidents,” said Dr. Howard Anapol, director of student health services.
According to Howard, UM’s currently only documented case of H1N1 was from an off-campus resident during the middle of the summer intermission.
“We’ve had a number of cases of influenza-like illnesses, or ILI’s, but so far only one case of diagnosed H1N1.”
Furthermore, the incidents of flu-like illnesses have been isolated in their exposure.
While there is no evidence yet of an increase like the one seen in South Florida during the summer, further preparations are being made by the university.
Hand sanitizers have been placed around campus to help prevent the spread of H1N1 as the virus can be spread if someone touches an infected surface and then puts their hands on their mouth or nose.
Furthermore, a possible vaccine for H1N1 is undergoing clinical trials, with an estimated availability beginning in late October.
UM has drawn up plans for a vaccination program in conjunction with Dade County. The vaccine will likely be made available through federal funding, and it will give priority to health-care workers, people up to the age of 24, and pregnant women.
People under the age of 25 are more likely to be affected by H1N1, according to the CDC, as they do not have the antibodies some older people have.
“This vaccine will likely be distributed in two doses, given three weeks apart,” said Dr. Anapol.
The vaccine for the seasonal flu will be a separate shot, with plans for campus-wide distribution to begin in mid-September.
Students and staff are encouraged to record which vaccines they have received to prevent any confusion.
Still, the university urges students to practice preventative measures, such as avoiding contact with sick people and frequent hand washing .
Anybody experiencing influenza like symptoms are encouraged to self isolate until 24 hours have passed after the disappearance of flu symptoms.
There have been 19 deaths in Miami-Dade attributed to the HN11 virus.
Further updates on H1N1 will be made available on the Student Health Services websites.