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Este pagina en espanol2009 H1N1 Expected to Last into 2010

Release Date: December 31, 2009
Contact: Julie Henry, N.C. Division of Public Health (919 )707-5053

RALEIGH The year may be coming to an end, but North Carolina leaders caution that the 2009 H1N1 flu pandemic is not over. January typically heralds the start of peak flu season, accompanied by increased hospitalizations and deaths from the virus. Since its arrival in April, the H1N1 flu already has claimed 79 lives in North Carolina.

 “I urge all North Carolinians to get vaccinated to protect themselves and others,” said Gov. Bev Perdue.

Unlike seasonal influenza, which can be deadly for elderly adults, H1N1 flu has disproportionately affected children and middle-aged adults.  According to statistics from the N.C. Division of Public Health, this year’s influenza has killed seven children, 29 people between 25 and 49 years old, and another 31 people between the ages of 50 and 64.  

“We do not commonly see serious flu cases, much less deaths from flu, in the young and middle-aged adult population,” State Epidemiologist Megan Davies said.  “What we are experiencing in North Carolina is consistent with the rest of the country.”

While hospital emergency department visits related to flu are down from a high in late October, they are still above typical flu season rates.

“If typical seasonal flu trends hold true this year, we can anticipate another increase in flu cases this winter and into the spring,” said Davies.  “H1N1 has been anything but typical, so it is difficult to know how long this pandemic will last.”

Vaccination is the most effective way to prevent influenza.  Limited vaccine supplies forced health care providers to limit it only to high-risk groups when it first became available. After vaccine production increased, North Carolina was one of the first states to expand access to everyone in early December. 

H1N1 vaccine is readily available through local health departments, private healthcare providers, and retail and independent pharmacies. For more information on H1N1 flu statistics and a convenient flu vaccine finder, visit flu.nc.gov.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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