Health officials across Nebraska and nationwide are seeing a steep drop in the number of people infected with the H1N1 flu. Deb Scholten, director of the Northeast Nebraska Public Health Department in Wayne, says the flu has already hit in two waves this year, during April and May and more recently during October.
Scholten says, “Now, we are seeing decreased numbers but still, we have to keep in mind, what we’re seeing now is a higher-than-usual flu incidences.” She says the dropoff in the H1N1 caseload is welcome, but it doesn’t mean the flu is going away. Scholten says the pause in new cases may allow more people to get the shots they need.
“Influenza is here and it is widespread but it is decreasing right now and we hope we don’t have a third wave but it would not surprise anyone if we do,” Scholten says. “That’s why we want people to get immunized as soon as the vaccine is available for their categories.” Priorities are being given to certain people for the H1N1 shots — people at higher risk, like health care workers, emergency responders, the very young and very old, pregnant women and people with compromised immune systems.
Scholten says she’s still watching for signs of the seasonal flu. “Usually it starts about now and we’re not seeing any,” Scholten says, “but we think the H1N1 is muscling that out.”
State health officials say at least a dozen people have died in Nebraska this year from the H1N1 strain.
Thanks to Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton