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As students return to campus for spring semester in less than three weeks, University of Wisconsin Oshkosh Student Health Center staff remind the campus community about the importance of getting the influenza vaccine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are reporting widespread cases of influenza in 45 states with a high level of activity in Wisconsin.

Influenza B has been the most prominent influenza virus this season and is included in both the trivalent and quadrivalent vaccine that are currently available.

The Student Health Center, located on the first floor of Radford Hall, still has some influenza vaccine available for a nominal fee of $15.

The Wisconsin State Laboratory of Hygiene reports influenza, adenovirus and norovirus are infections that are currently on the rise this season.

Influenza has been identified in multiple healthcare systems in Oshkosh. As a surveillance site, the UWO health center has had a few positive tests for adenovirus, which is a major cause of the “common cold” but also can cause many symptoms similar to influenza.

Students who come down with any of these viruses can sometimes miss a week or more of classes, which can cause them to fall behind in their studies.

“Adenovirus and norovirus are two viruses that can last for extended periods on fomites, such as door knobs and other surfaces,” said UWO senior physician Shawn Ekstrom. “They also are not managed with alcohol-based hand cleansers or cleaning products. Washing hands with warm, soapy water for at least 20 seconds; keeping hands from mouth, nose and eyes; and using bleach-based cleaning products are needed.”

Students are encouraged to take the time to clean common surfaces when they return to their residence halls or apartments.

Adenovirus and influenza can cause complications that lead to hospitalization and even death, Ekstrom added. The CDC estimates that so far this season there have been at least 9.7 million flu illnesses, 87,000 hospitalizations and 4,800 deaths from flu.

Norovirus can cause dehydration and hospitalization.

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