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H1N1 Lightens Up

Best of Medical: A decline in cases, here and nationally

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Remeber H1N1? In the video above, after realizing that dogs, even mascots, can come down with flu, Rhett learned what to do.

The number of Boston University students living in isolation because of a diagnosis of influenza-like illness (ILI) dropped to four in November, according to Peter Fiedler, vice president for administrative services and chairman of the University’s H1N1 Task Force. That number is down from a high of 24 in mid-October.

The drop mimics a nationwide decline in the number of visits to doctors for suspected flu, as reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The agency has seen a two-week decline in the number of visits after four consecutive weeks of sharp increases. At the same time, the CDC reports, the number of hospitalizations for confirmed flu cases continues to rise.

The CDC’s national estimate put the number of H1N1 cases from April to October 17, 2009 at somewhere between 14 million and 34 million.

Fiedler (COM’77) says the University had 370 reported cases of ILI from September, which put the infection rate among BU students at about one percent. A survey of New England colleges, he says, found infection rates from zero to 8 percent, with an average of 3.4 percent. He attributed the lower than average infection rate here to the use of hand sanitizers, which have been installed in many campus buildings.

BU received 300 doses of H1N1 vaccine, Fiedler added, which were administered in accordance with CDC guidelines: pregnant women first, caregivers in households with young children second, and health-care personnel third.

This story originally ran November 19, 2009.

Art Jahnke can be reached at jahnke@bu.edu. Robin Berghaus can be reached at berghaus@bu.edu.

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