H1N1 cases increase in Region 8

By Amanda Hanson  - bio | email feedback

JONESBORO, AR (KAIT) – The H1N1 epidemic has been an issue worldwide.  With the spring right around the corner, many people thought that the pandemic was in its final stages.  "With a pandemic influenza you'll see a lot of add and flows as far as it coming back and then going away.  Several cycles will occur.  We're probably adding a third cycle now what we're seeing is some increase in flue activity especially here in this area, says Shane Speights, an assistant Professor of Medicine at UNMS.  He has seen an increase in the number of H1N1 cases, "over the past three to four weeks we have seen an increase.  I know in the out-patient clinics, as well as in the emergency department.  We're seeing an increase in the number of flu positive patients coming in."

On the CDC web site a few weeks ago there was only sporadic activity noted in the Arkansas area, but that has not upgraded to local activity. Speights says, "These are patients that haven't had the flu yet this year and are now getting exposed to it this time."

It is now more important than ever to get the vaccine.  Speight says the majority of the cases he has seen have been younger patients.  Children under the age of nine are required to have to vaccine.  They are also required to get a booster twenty-one to twenty-nine days after getting the initial shot.  "Most of these children have maybe fallen to the side.  Parents might have thought hey, now the flu season's over so we didn't really need this second injection.  Nothing can be further from the truth," Speights says, "Get the vaccine.  That is the best way to prevent the spread of influenza.  That is the best way to keep you from getting sick."

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