H1N1 reports down, but UofL Professor says "not so fast"

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by Joe Arnold

WHAS11.com

Posted on December 1, 2009 at 6:06 PM

Updated Tuesday, Dec 1 at 6:43 PM

The latest reports from the Centers for Disease Control indicate that the second wave of the swine flu has peaked, nationally.  For the fourth week in a row, flu reports are down.

But Dr. Ruth Carrico, a University of Louisville Assistant Professor of Health Promotion and Behavioral Science says "not so fast,"
a third wave is likely to hit within months, and could be compounded by increases in seasonal flu and other respiratory illnesses.

"We should expect another wave,"  Carrico said, "We should perhaps expect multiple other waves over the course of the next
months or year."

And Carrico says it's "reasonable to think" that we may see another H1N1 upswing as soon as January, no coincidence that
comes after holiday activities.

"We get out of our routine.  We all get together.  We go to the shopping malls. We get together as family.  We have multiple
generations together."

She says don't let your guard down.  Keep using good hand hygiene, cough into your elbow, don't go to work if you're sick,
and if you haven't already gotten the vaccine, Carrico says, get vaccinated.

Tuesday marked the second of 15 days of mass immunizations in Jefferson County Public Schools, parochial schools and some other private schools.  The health department school immunization effort in JCPS is due to be complete by December 18.

Based on enrollment figures and vaccination numbers released by the Metro Department of Public Health and Wellness, about
33% of students at participating schools received immunizations in the first day of the school effort in Jefferson County. Of a combined total enrollment of 6,980 students on Day 1, 2,336 were immunized.

Meanwhile, the Oldham County School District reports that 236 of about 600 students at East Oldham Middle School were immunized on Tuesday morning.  And, based on parental consent forms due in advance, of the total middle and high school enrollment of 6,358 students in Oldham County, only 2,152 have requested the vaccine.

School and health officials stress that some students might have received immunizations elsewhere, including public vaccination
clinics and at doctors offices.

Carrico says the vaccination effort has worked to limit the spread of H1N1, but that people should not be lulled into thinking that it's over, that even some who have been immunized may still get sick, and because some people infected with H1N1 don't exhibit serious symptoms, those carriers are infectious without knowing it.

"There is no third option,"  Carrico explained, "You're going to be sick or you're going to be immunized.  It may not be now,
but in some wave when this comes back, that it will ultimately impact all of us."

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