Local News

Wake County launches new flu Web site

Posted September 14, 2009 5:25 p.m. EDT
Updated September 14, 2009 6:01 p.m. EDT

— Wake County officials expect to get the county’s first shipment of the H1N1 vaccine by mid-October.

Wake County Community Health Director Sue Lynn Ledford briefed commissioners on Monday about plans for the vaccine and who is most at risk this flu season.

This year they're tackling the normal seasonal flu and H1N1.

“Because it's a new virus we treat it with the due respect but so far the symptoms have been identical to seasonal flu,” Ledford said.

One major difference is that most of us have built up some immunity in the past to the seasonal flu, but we're more susceptible to H1N1, according to state Epidemiologist Dr. Megan Davies.

“We expect to see a lot of people get sick with the flu this year and we're already seeing that. We are in the second wave of this epidemic,” Davies said.

Prevention methods are the same. Experts say stay home if you're sick and wash your hands often.

“If you get the flu, you're not going to know if it’s H1N1 or seasonal. You’re just going to know you feel like you've been hit by a truck,” Davies said.

Officials said the state is now treating H1N1 as they would the seasonal flu. At this point they say H1N1 is appearing to be similar to the common flu. They did not say whether testing for H1N1 flu would continue.

H1N1, also known as the swine flu, now accounts for most flu cases in the United States. More than 1 million Americans have been infected and nearly 600 have died from it, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates.

Wake County schools are instructed to isolate any student with flu-like symptoms and a fever until a parent picks them up.

The county launched a new Web page – ReadyWake! Flu – on Monday in an effort to help people learn more about H1N1 and the seasonal flu.

Wake County's site will share information about preventions, steps to take if you're sick and details about vaccines. Ledford said the site will be updated regularly.

“I think we’re as ready as anyone can be,” Ledford said.

About 45 million doses of swine flu vaccine from GlaxoSmithKline, Novartis and several other companies are expected to be available by mid-October. First in line to receive the vaccine are pregnant women, health care workers and younger adults with conditions such as asthma.