Herky vs. the Flu

Talk about irony. One of the UI students who fills the role of beloved mascot Herky the Hawk has been admitted to UI Hospitals and Clinics with a case of bird flu.

Although the student is in no danger and is expected to make a full and speedy recovery, UI experts say that the case demonstrates the need to be vigilant about flu cases. “People think that flu only happens in the winter—in December and January. But, actually, the peak season is in February and March, and it’s certainly not unheard of for cases to crop up even later,” says UIHC infectious disease expert Dr. Avrile Eshu, 01PhD. “This case stresses the importance of getting your flu shot every single year.”

In previous years, the H1N1 or “bird flu” vaccination was only available separately from the regular annual flu shot. This past fall, however, the Centers for Disease Control approved a combined shot that protected against both types of influenza.

A hospital spokesperson says that Herky—surrounded by flowers and gifts from well-wishers—has issued this statement. “Don’t be a bird brain—make sure you get your flu shot.”

Tina Owen

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