Autumn 2009: Of Note
David Walter Banks/Special
Flu hits campus
Isolation dorm and vaccine testing deployed against H1N1
Emory University has prepared this site to convey information to students, faculty, staff, parents and others about our plan and preparations for dealing with influenza, including the novel influenza A (H1N1) virus.
By Mary J. Loftus
Upon realizing that he had the flu a few weeks into the new school year, Jeffrey Simpson 13C checked himself into the special voluntary isolation dorm Emory had set up for students with symptoms of seasonal flu or H1N1.
“I didn’t want to get my friends sick, which was just as important as getting healthy myself,” Simpson told a CBS news crew, who filmed him walking across campus after he felt well enough to leave the dorm, old Turman South.
For several weeks, about fifty students were in Turman at any given time, with more than a hundred cycling through during the first month of school. While in the dorm, the students did not attend classes, and their meals were delivered.
By early September, swine flu had become so widespread in Georgia and elsewhere across the country that several states were no longer testing each case for H1N1.
In anticipation of the fall increase in influenza cases, Emory researchers began conducting human trials of an H1N1 vaccine in hundreds of volunteers. As one of several federal Vaccine and Treatment Evaluation Units across the country, Emory is testing the safety and effectiveness of the new vaccine in three age groups: children six months to eighteen years, adults nineteen to sixty-four years, and seniors sixty-five and older.
Volunteers returned several times over nine weeks to receive additional vaccinations and blood tests. The Emory clinical trial will also help to determine if the pandemic flu shot should be given along with the seasonal flu shot. Participants received two H1N1 vaccinations concurrent with, before, or after the seasonal flu shot.