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Health Team

Health officials: Threat of flu has not passed

Posted January 11, 2010 8:33 a.m. EST
Updated January 11, 2010 8:38 a.m. EST

While cases of H1N1 are on the decline, health officials continue to push for people to get vaccinated. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has designated Jan. 10 to 16 National Influenza Vaccination Week in an effort to remind the public of the dangers that persist as the peak of flu season arrives.

The CDC reported Friday that there are no signs of seasonal flu right now, only the H1N1, or swine, variety.

Only one state – Alabama – was reporting widespread cases of H1N1 last week. But CDC officials noted there is still more flu around than normally seen at this time of year, and illnesses could increase as students return to school after the holiday break.

Four states had widespread cases the previous week. The number has been dropping since late October, when nearly all states had widespread flu reports. To date, 79 people have died in North Carolina of H1N1 complications.

With reported cases down and an ample supply of vaccine, local authorities say now is an ideal time to get your vaccine.

Barb Bisset, of Wake County Emergency Medical Services, pointed out that most experts expect a third wave of H1N1 cases as the winter wears on.

"We need to be aware of a third wave coming," she said. "So we do have a good opportunity to get everyone vaccinated here in Wake County."

"It only takes eight days to two weeks to develop immunity from the time you get your vaccine, so this is the ideal time," said North Carolina State Epidemiologist Megan Davies.

"Go now. There's plenty of vaccine. There shouldn't be long lines."

Wake and Johnston counties have clinics scheduled with free vaccine available every day this week. Durham has them every Monday, Wednesday, Friday. .