H1N1 strain apparent as St. Louis area flu numbers spike

Thursday, January 2, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Nicholas J.C. Pistor
Dec. 31, 2013

H1N1 is making a comeback.
Local health officials said on Tuesday that they had identified a spike in flu numbers in recent days, and most of those cases appear to be H1N1, the flu strain that caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009.

“It’s a little more virulent,” Dr. Dolores Gunn, head of the St. Louis County health department, said of the flu strain. “It requires a little more care that usual.”

Once known as the “swine flu,” the strain hits young and middle-age adults the hardest.

The number of flu cases this year isn’t outrageous, health officials say. But incidents are rapidly increasing, which causes concern.

This month, St. Louis County has seen its flu numbers spike, going from 57 reported cases during a week in early December to 226 during this past week. (Officials caution that those numbers are probably on the low end, because many people do not seek medical attention for flu symptoms.)

“That’s a significant jump,” Gunn said.

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