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University of Iowa News Release

Dec. 30, 2003

Researchers To Evaluate Influenza Vaccine Among UI Students

The University of Iowa College of Public Health is conducting a research study on the effectiveness of the influenza vaccine during the 2003-2004 flu season.

The 2003-2004 influenza season started unusually early and could be severe due to the predominance of certain strains of the virus in the United States, said Gregory Gray, M.D., professor of epidemiology in the UI College of Public Health and one of the study investigators.

"We are presently very concerned about influenza as more illnesses have occurred than expected and a number of them have been severe," Gray said. "It is an important public health issue to understand how effective this year's vaccine is and what we can do to better prevent influenza disease in the future."

UI students are eligible to participate in this study regardless of whether they have received a flu vaccination this fall. Study participants must be at least 18 years old, have a UI e-mail address, and be eligible for health care at UI Student Health Service to participate in this 16-week study. Participants must also have access to the Internet. Approximately 4,200 UI students will be enrolled in this study.

By studying groups of both vaccinated and unvaccinated students, researchers will help determine the effectiveness of this season's flu vaccine by comparing how many people in each group develop influenza. Study participants will be asked to complete nine online questionnaires (a questionnaire every other week). Study participants also will be asked to schedule an appointment at Student Health Service if they develop influenza symptoms during the study. No vaccination or blood sampling will be performed. Compensation is available.

The study is being funded by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Study enrollment will cease as soon as the target number is reached. The deadline for enrollment in the UI study is Jan. 9, 2004. More information is available online at, by e-mail at or by phone at 319-384-5055 or toll free at 800-348-4692.

STORY SOURCE: University of Iowa Health Science Relations, 5135 Westlawn, Iowa City, Iowa 52242-1178

MEDIA CONTACT: David Pedersen, 319-335-8032,