Swine song: H1N1 flu hitting hard

Monday, January 27, 2014
By Paul Martin

Monday, Jan. 27, 2014

Achy, shaky, hot and cold? Didja get a flu shot? Didja?

“We’re seeing a lot of influenza, just like nationwide,” Lee County Health Department Administrator Cathy Ferguson said.

The same is true in Whiteside County, health department officials there said.

And like the rest of the nation, the H1N1, or swine flu strain, is back, Ferguson said.

Typical influenza hits infants and people older than 65 the hardest. H1N1, which caused a nationwide pandemic in 2009, tends to expand that pool to young adults, pregnant women, older children, and people with chronic diseases.

Although health officials are seeing about the usual number of cases for this time of year, they are seeing it in more people younger than 65, said Joan Saunders, Whiteside County’s head of infectious diseases.

Statewide, at least seven people, most in Cook County, have died this season, while 450 have been hospitalized, Illinois Department of Public Health spokeswoman Melaney Arnold said Thursday.

The flu has put at least a couple of people in the hospital in Lee County, Ferguson said. The state notifies her office of confirmed cases only when they’re bad enough to put the victim in ICU – the only cases required to be reported to the Department of Public Health, she said.

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