Hundreds of flu cases reported on campus at University of Michigan

Hundreds of students on the campus of The University of Michigan are coming down with the flu.

"I was actually feeling sick this is the first time I’m feeling better, I know a lot of my friends are sick," said U-M senior Ryan Baxter. "Yeah, it was the flu (not COVID-19), thank God."

The increase is being monitored by the university and Washtenaw County Health Department officials

"We’ve certainly seen a big uptick in flu cases over the last couple of weeks starting in early October especially last two weeks lots of cases," said Dr. Emily Martin, associate professor of Epidemiology. "We've had over 500 cases total and over 300 have been In the last two weeks."

Officials with The Centers for Disease Control arriving on campus Monday to investigate

"We've been working together with the CDC and using this as an opportunity to see how the flu vaccine is working, and what we have to do over the next couple of months nationwide for the flu," said Dr. Martin.

There’s also an investigation into what’s driving the uptick in Flu cases on campus.

"So that’s one of the things that we’re going to evaluate, is how well is the flu vaccine working against the flu," she said. "We watch that every year and last year, we didn’t have an opportunity to watch it because there wasn’t any flu around."

That’s because more people were social distancing, wearing a mask and large gatherings were canceled because of Covid protocols.

University leaders also believe this year’s increase in flu cases might be connected to increased testing, since Covid symptoms - which Include high fever and coughing - often mimic flu symptoms.

"Because of everything we’ve learned with Covid, people come in when they’re symptomatic and just starting to feel sick," Martin said. "So we’re testing people for flu when we normally would not have been testing at all."

The university is promoting the flu vaccine to protect the community. On Tuesday a flu vaccine clinic will be held on campus. For details and to learn how to register, CLICK HERE.

"We have flu vaccines open to the whole community offered by our community partners starting at 9 a.m. here on campus," she said.

As campus and CDC officials continue to monitor the high number of cases on campus, they want students to remember testing is key.

"Testing and getting into clinical care at the first sign of symptoms is very important because there are a lot of things we can do for the flu," Martin said.