For the first time this academic year, college campuses have reported a significant drop in cases of influenza-like illness, generally assumed to be pandemic H1N1 influenza, according to the American College Health Assn. Unfortunately, the association also recorded the first two deaths from the pandemic among college students at participating campuses.
There were 6,373 cases of illness reported on the campuses enrolling more than 3 million students in the week ending Nov. 13, a 27% drop from the week before, and 12 hospitalizations. Only 95% of the campuses reported cases, down from 98% the prior week. All but five states reported significant declines in disease activity during the week. The five states and regions with increases were New Jersey, Louisiana, Missouri, Idaho and the District of Columbia. South Dakota and Utah reported a 100% drop, with no new cases during the week.
Only limited data have been collected yet about the availability of the swine flu vaccine on campuses, but the figures show that only about 3% of students have been vaccinated to date.
In other swine flu news:
-- Canada has reported a spike in swine flu-related deaths, with more people dying of the virus during the week ending Nov. 17 than in any other week this year. Thirty-seven people died during the week, bringing the total number of laboratory-confirmed deaths in the country to 198, out of a population of 34 million. About 10% of the population has so far received the swine flu vaccine, according to health authorities.
-- The California Department of Public Health said today that 5.19 million doses of swine flu vaccine had been distributed within the state, enough for about 13.4% of the population. All counties have received at least some doses. A chart at the agency's website compares the doses filled to population.
— Thomas H. Maugh II