OHIO — Health officials are reporting a flu outbreak at Miami University that has led to 175 cases as of Monday.
What You Need To Know
- Flu activity remains low in the U.S., but it's beginning to pick up
- Health officials said new cases at Miami University are now declining
- College campuses can become flu hotspots, according to the CDC
One person has been hospitalized in the outbreak at the Ohio college, officials said.
"We, like other universities across the country, are experiencing an uptick in the flu during flu season. As the CDC has warned, we should expect a severe flu season,” Miami University spokesperson Carole Johnson said in a statement.
Butler County Health Commissioner Dr. Michelle Burch said new flu cases at the university are now declining, a sign that the outbreak might be coming under control.
“We have been working closely with Miami University as they have seen an uptick of flu cases among their students in recent weeks. Miami University has taken several important steps to address this evolving situation and new flu cases at Miami University have been steadily declining,” Burch said.
The Butler County General Health District will continue to monitor the Miami University outbreak and all flu activity in the county throughout the season, Burch said.
The report of the Miami University outbreak comes after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced last week its investigators were on campus looking into a flu outbreak among students at the University of Michigan, where more than 500 cases had been diagnosed.
The CDC said the Michigan outbreak and a number of other flare-ups of influenza A among young people in recent weeks represent “the first significant flu activity” since March 2020. Last winter saw historically low flu activity due to the precautions Americans were taking for COVID-19.
Flu is known to spread on college campuses in common living spaces, classrooms and shared restrooms, and young adults are also vulnerable because they get vaccinated at the lowest rates, according to the CDC.
Johnson said the university has seen an increase in the number of people getting flu shots this fall.
Burch said there are several key prevention strategies during flu season in addition to vaccination, including staying home if you’re sick, washing your hands, covering your mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing and keeping surfaces clean.
During a news conference Thursday, Ohio Department of Health Director Dr. Bruce Vanderhoff said that residents should be on high alert for any respiratory illness symptoms ahead of Thanksgiving, with COVID-19 cases surging again in Ohio at the same time as the flu is emerging.
“Don't say, ‘I think it's just a cold, or I think it's a mild case of the flu.’ Those symptoms need to be paid attention to, and we should refrain from that in-person gathering. And, you know, we're all getting pretty good with Zoom — maybe we can sort of have our own little at-home turkey dinner and Zoom-in to see the loved ones," Vanderhoff said.