Colleges Open Their Doors—to Swine Flu

Campus is 'a perfect breeding ground for disease'
By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 31, 2009 1:11 PM CDT
Students walk on the campus of historical Morehouse College in Atlanta Ga.   (AP Photo)
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(Newser) – Colleges all over the country are welcoming back students—and dealing with an uninvited visitor: swine flu, Bloomberg reports. From the South to the Plains states, schools are reporting hundreds of cases—at Mississippi State University, more than 250 people have flu-like symptoms. “Envision 200 young people being stuffed into the basement of a smoky fraternity,” an official says. “What a perfect breeding ground for disease.”

The demonstrated threat can’t change the fact that those of college age are the group least likely to seek a flu shot. They “don’t think flu is a serious disease,” a college health official says, “so they don’t need to be vaccinated from it.” To counter the blasé attitude, schools are mounting awareness campaigns and even providing drive-through shots—“pull up, get your shot and keep going”—while the CDC plans Internet ads to hammer the point home.