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Next wave of H1N1 expected this month

Feb. 1, 2010

KALAMAZOO--Using the flu epidemic of 1957-58 as a model, the next wave of H1N1 flu should peak in late February or early March.

Western Michigan University is promoting a series of free walk-in clinics for H1N1 vaccinations this month in hopes that enough students can be vaccinated to minimize widespread infection when the next wave hits.

"We're hoping students would rather spend a few minutes now getting a free vaccination than risk missing a week of classes or being ill the week of spring break," says Dr. Diane Anderson, vice president for student affairs. WMU's spring semester recess is the first week in March, when the next wave of infection may peak.

"There are striking similarities between the flu outbreak of 1957-58 and this past year's H1N1 pandemic," says Dr. Lisa Marshall, WMU medical director. "If the pattern continues, we'll see a rise in flu-like illness this month, peaking at about the same levels of illness seen last fall."

Both the H1N1 flu of 2009-10 and the H2N2 virus of 1957-58 resulted in a high rate of school absenteeism, with both strains of flu affecting a much higher than normal number of school-age children and young adults. There is speculation that people over 55 may have some immunity to this year's virus, because of exposure in 1957, when today's 60-year-olds would have been in elementary school.

Vaccination clinics have been scheduled at several campus locations. For the latest information on flu clinics visit wmich.edu/flu.

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Media contact: Thom Myers, (269) 387-8400, thom.myers@wmich.edu

WMU News
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