Students urged to get H1N1 shot before spring break

ATLANTA — With spring break coming up and large numbers of students expected to travel both domestically and internationally, getting vaccinated against 2009 H1N1 influenza is especially important, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says.

Last spring, health providers saw the spread of 2009 H1N1 result in a lot of illness following travel associated with spring break.

Although flu activity has declined in recent weeks, 2009 H1N1 Influenza viruses continue to spread in the United States and abroad, causing illness, hospitalizations and even deaths, the CDC says.

Recently, several colleges and universities have reported increased influenza activity on their campuses. Flu activity is difficult to predict, but experts at the CDC expect that flu activity — caused by 2009 H1N1 or seasonal flu viruses — will continue for weeks, and parts of the world may even see big outbreaks, the CDC said in a press release March 5.

This season the 2009 H1N1 virus has hit young adults especially hard in terms of illness, as most young people do not have immunity to the virus.

For these reasons, the CDC and the American College Health Association continue to encourage all students, faculty and staff at universities and colleges to protect themselves against 2009 H1N1 by getting vaccinated.

The CDC also urged students to talk to health care providers not only about 2009 H1N1, but also other recommended, routine vaccinations they may need if traveling, especially overseas.

For more information, visit the CDC’s travelers’ health Web site at www.cdc.gov/travel.