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[August 12, 2009]
The H1N1 flu virus is spreading
much faster than other flu viruses have in the past. It typically
takes six months to achieve the spread that was accomplished by the
novel H1N1 flu virus in just six weeks. The CDC estimates that so
far we have had more than 1 million cases of H1N1 in the United
States. Similar to seasonal flu, with H1N1 the symptoms are fever,
cough, sore throat, stuffy nose, achiness, headaches, chills and
fatigue. Sometimes H1N1 causes diarrhea and vomiting. Just like
seasonal flu, H1N1 can be severe and potentially deadly.
The H1N1 virus appears to be infecting young people in much higher
numbers than seasonal flu does. The U.S. numbers reported in May
showed that 64 percent of the cases were in people 5 to 24 years of
age; only 1 percent of the cases occurred in people over the age of
65. The severe illnesses and deaths are seen in much younger people
than normally happens with seasonal flu.
The H1N1 vaccine is
currently undergoing clinical trials before it will be approved for
use. Once the health department receives this vaccine, it will only
be available in a limited quantity, not enough for everyone. The
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will issue guidance to
local health departments, with priority populations identified to be
immunized. At this time, it appears that the priority populations
will be children and staff in schools and day care centers, health
care workers, and pregnant women.
People may be required to receive two H1N1 flu vaccines to
achieve full immunity. The two H1N1 vaccines would need to be
administered 21-28 days apart.
The seasonal flu vaccine will be available at the Logan County
Department of Public Health in late September or early October. The
seasonal flu vaccine will not protect people from the novel H1N1 flu
virus, but it is still important to receive this vaccine. On
average, 36,000 people die annually in the United States from the
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Typically, a pandemic will last one to two years. Every influenza
pandemic in recorded history has started out with a mild wave in the
spring followed by a more severe wave in the fall and winter. We
have no idea what H1N1 may do from now until our flu season, but
science and history tell us that the novel H1N1 flu will affect our
Everyone needs to take a shared responsibility to minimize the
risk of spreading this respiratory disease. To prevent the spread of
flu, take the following precautions:
Clean your hands
frequently with warm soap and water.
Cover your cough
Contain your germs
by staying home when sick.
Call your doctor
if you are sick.
Get the seasonal
Ensure your loved ones in the priority
groups receive the H1N1 vaccine when it becomes available.
For further information on the H1N1 influenza virus, visit
www.lcdph.org or call
[Text from file received from
Logan County Department
of Public Health]