Oct 21, 2009 8:44 PM by Matt Stafford

A New Twist on an Old Technique

Health experts are battling the H1N1 virus in several different ways.

Thanks to a grant, there's an old technique with a new twist being used in El Paso County to keep up with the virus.

Clinics like the one at the University of Colorado, Colorado Springs campus are seeing more students waiting to see a doctor.

"We have about 8,500 students and a lot of our population meets the age group that is considered higher risk, under 24," says Stephanie Hanenberg, Student Health Director for U.C.C.S.

A federal grant is teaming up U.C.C.S. with the El Paso County Health Department to track the virus.

This type of study is giving them a chance to see it from a new angle.

"We're seeing whether school absenteeism shows us something different about flu activity from our traditional methods," Bernadette Albanese, Medical Director for the El Paso County Health Department.

With more than 1000 people already hospitalized in Colorado this year for flu-like symptoms, it's important to plan ahead.  The study is helping with decisions.

"This infection is hitting hard in young adults and in children," Albanese says, "So that tracking has facilitated identifying those target groups for the vaccine."

With the help of schools like U.C.C.S., health leaders can work within those groups and hopefully make them less of a target.



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