Southeastern U.S. Sees Increase in H1N1 Flu Activity
Surgeon General Regina Benjamin and Dr. Anne Schuchat from the CDC today reported that the H1N1 flu is still circulating, and reminded Americans that vaccination is the best way to protect yourself and those around you.
Although rates of flu illness are much lower around the country than they were in fall 2009, the H1N1 virus continues to cause disease, especially in the Southeast, where several states report regional or local flu activity.
Three states are reporting regional flu activity - Alabama, Georgia, and South Carolina, while Puerto Rico and eight states, mostly in the Southeast, report local flu activity - Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia, Hawaii, and New Mexico. Nearly all of the influenza viruses circulating are the H1N1 pandemic virus.
For the past several weeks, the Georgia Department of Community Health has seen an increase in flu-related hospitalizations. CDC staff has been working with Georgia public health officials to analyze flu cases, hospitalizations, and deaths to determine what might be contributing to the recent increase in flu activity in Georgia. Most of these hospitalizations that have been reviewed occurred in adults with underlying health conditions that put them at higher risk of severe influenza.
Surgeon General Benjamin and Dr. Schuchat encouraged those who have not yet gotten vaccinated against the H1N1 flu vaccine to do so. The H1N1 flu vaccine is widely available throughout the United States at doctors' offices, health departments, and pharmacies.