By Emily Shane
It turns out that the flu shot your mom convinced you to get last semester really was not that helpful at all.
A new strain of the flu, Influenza A, has been spreading around campus and those with the flu shot are still susceptible to the disease.
10 students have been diagnosed with Influenza A since the start of the spring semester. Students were notified of the recent cases via an email alert to the community. Medical Directo r of Health Services Charles Marty said in the Feb. 3 email that “seasonal flu epidemics are expected each year but this year’s Influenza virus (H3N2) has ‘drifted’ or mutated in such a way that the ‘protective’ Influenza vaccine given has not been a good match.”
He explained why the flu vaccine is ineffective this year. “At any given time there are multiple different strains of influenza virus circulating in the world. Based on past experience and current trends, experts try to predict in the spring of each year which three strains of the virus are most likely to cause disease throughout the world over the following year and the vaccine is manufactured containing those three strains.”
“Sometimes the virus mutates or acts unpredictably so that a strain which is not included in the vaccine ends up being the most prominent one circulating during the next flu season in the fall and winter,” said Marty.
The symptoms for the flu include a high fever, painful cough and nasal congestion.
Marty encouraged anyone with flu-like symptoms to contact Whisler Health Center.
“Our threshold for sending out Health Alerts to the Denison community is based on our incidences of ‘diagnosed’ cases and in collaboration with our local Health Department,” said Molly Thurlow-Collen, the Adult Nurse Practitioner and Associate Director of Health Services at the Whisler Center for Student Wellness.
“Whisler Health Services has seen many students ill with viral ‘colds’ as well as other ‘flu’ like illnesses that tested negative for Influenza A or B,” Thurlow-Collen said.
Manvi Jalan ‘18, a creative writing and communication major from Kolkata, India, said that although she didn’t get sick, many of her friends did, and she was glad the email was sent out. “It’s always good to be aware that something’s going around so then you can watch out for the symptoms.”