Another H1N1 Flu Virus Wave is Coming?

December 5, 2009 12:00:00 AM PST
There is some good news to report with the H1N1 flu virus. Health experts say the number of cases is on the decline. However, another peak may be just around the corner after families gather for the holidays.Health experts say pandemics come in waves and while the numbers of H1N1 cases are down slightly ... flu activity is much higher than they expect this time of year.

Nearly 11 million Californians have received the H1N1 vaccine this year and health experts say they are starting to see the number of cases decline.

David Luchini with the Fresno County Health Department said, "Locally we've seen a decrease in the number of influenza activity reported in the schools we've heard from some of the doctors we've heard things are slowing down in the offices."

However Luchinni says ... hospitalizations from the H1N1 virus have remained constant and says it's too early to say the H1N1 pandemic is over.

"The CDC thinks we may see another 3rd wave come in January as students and people come back from the holidays," said Luchini.

Locally, 21 people have died from swine flu and since April 366 Californians have died as a result of the virus.

Dr. Gil Chavez said, "So it's very clear that we continue to see great deceases, great morbidity and, and that we continue to be at a very high level in terms of the pandemic."

The Central Valley and Northern California coast have the highest H1N1 death rates. In preparation for another possible surge of swine flu cases-- the state is launching a new billboard campaign on Monday to alert the public about swine flu.

Dr. Chavez said, "These outdoor ads are paid with federal grants uh, and will be posted on billboards, exterior bus boards and bus shelters throughout California."

Health officials say during this lull, now is a good time to get more people vaccinated to protect against another possible H1N1 peak in January.

Much of the decline in H1N1 cases have been linked to more people receiving the H1N1 vaccine. Fresno County health officials say they have nearly 12 thousand doses ... and many physicians in the Valley have already received their shipments.


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