Rowan University reports early flu outbreak on campus; officials urge students to get vaccinated

University officials are urging students to get their flu shots before the winter.
GLASSBORO, New Jersey (WPVI) -- Rowan University officials are reporting an early season flu outbreak, saying they've had 80 cases of the flu on campus in 10 days. They are now urging students at the Glassboro campus to get flu shots before the winter.

"I was glad they said something. So that the whole campus is aware and maybe it'll prompt people to get flu shots," said freshman Abby Ealer.

On Wednesday, an email went out to students and faculty notifying them of the outbreak.

Student Jonathan Wong says his roommates got it and had trouble getting a prescription filled at a local pharmacy.

"They just called the CVS and they said they ran out of the medicine so they try to go to other places now because there are so many outbreaks," said Wong.

The university's COVID-19 dashboard shows a much smaller number of COVID cases reported.

Officials say more people may have gotten COVID-19 vaccines than flu shots. And as more people gather on and off-campus, germs are spreading.

"We didn't see flu at all last year. So, the expectation is in terms of public health is that we could see a significant surge of flu and unfortunately, we're starting to see that now," said Scott Woodside, director of the Rowan University Wellness Center.

In some cases, students have gone to the hospital.
"We're being cautious. If students have any shortness of breath we're having them checked out in the hospital. Luckily all students have been treated and discharged," said Woodside.

Dr. Eric Sztejman, vice president of Clinical Operations for Virtua Health says, so far, they haven't seen a lot of flu cases throughout their offices and hospitals in South Jersey. But he is concerned that this winter cases of both flu and COVID could rise simultaneously.

"There are so many similarities to the diseases. Both are prevalent respiratory viruses spread in similar routes. And if you think about it, fever, cough, shortness of breath, fatigue, that's seen in both illnesses," said Sztejman.

He says instead of trying to guess which illness you have, it's best to see a doctor if you're feeling sick and get tested.

At Rowan University, students can call the wellness center at (856) 256-4333.

Officials say flu shots are also being offered on campus every Monday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in the Chamberlain Student Center, or at the wellness center.

Additional resources:
- CDC's FluView interactive site

- NJ flu surveillance

- Flu stats in Pa.

- Latest flu data in Delaware
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