November 18, 2009

News Release

For Immediate Release

Flu Cases Significantly Decrease

Only 46 cases of laboratory confirmed flu were reported to the health department in the most current reporting period. That is down significantly from the 140 cases reported the week before, and continues the downward trend for the third week in a row.

“Flu pandemics will generally see three waves,” says director of health Kevin Gipson. “The nation saw its first in April and May, we’re seeing the second wave now, and we expect to see a third wave in the months ahead. It is also possible we may see seasonal flu cases, which usually hit their peak in December and January.”

To combat the flu, the health department reminds Greene County residents that vaccination is the best protection. Another shipment of H1N1 vaccine arrived in Springfield Wednesday, totaling 3,000 doses. This brings the total number of H1N1 vaccine doses received in Greene County to date to 37,800.

“The vaccine has been coming in fairly small shipments,” adds Gipson, “but every dose we get in protects another member of our community. It’s remarkable that we’ve been able to vaccinate nearly 23,000 people in Greene County since we got our first shipment of vaccine on October 5th.”

The vaccine continues to go to people at highest risk for infection from H1N1, including children 6 months through young adults 24 years old, pregnant women, adults 25 to 64 with chronic medical conditions, healthcare workers, first responders and household contacts and caregivers for infants under six months old.

“As more vaccine arrives in the county and the priority group needs are met, we anticipate being able to offer the vaccine to other members of our community,” says Gipson. “At this time, it’s just impossible to say when that will happen, as it is dependent on the amount of vaccine we receive weekly.”

While waiting for a vaccination, community members are encouraged to wash their hands frequently with soap and water, avoid touching their face and keep a distance of at least six feet from those who are sick. People who are sick are urged to stay home to protect others in our community.

Questions about H1N1 and seasonal flu can be answered by live operators by calling 417-874-1228 Monday through Friday from 8:00 am to 4:00 pm except during the lunch hour (noon – 1:00 pm).

Updated stat sheet and graphs can be found by visiting www.springfieldmo.gov/health/pressBriefings.html

Media contact: Jaci McReynolds, Public Information Administrator, (417) 874-1205 office • (417) 830-9511 cell

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Harold K. Bengsch Building

227 E. Chestnut Expwy. • Springfield, MO 65802
417-864-1658 • health.springfieldmo.gov