By Ross Donnan
The general anxiety of the H1N1 virus that struck America recently has essentially melted away with the snow. There were two separate spikes in the number of cases confirmed around the U.S., and CDC (Center for Disease Control) and the Illinois Department of Health have always been predicting of a third spike or “wave” which is expected with a pandemic Flu. The first wave occurred in April 2009, and the second in October 2009, and officials are predicting a third wave in March-May of 2010.
The seasonal Flu usually hits its second peak around March to May, and the Administrator of the Warren County Health Department Jenna Link claims “We saw a slight peak in influenza A (which is not H1N1 just Influenza) activity the end of March first week in April but these are not confirmed H1N1 cases.” For Warren County “Things have been pretty quiet” says Link, “but the H1N1 vaccine has now been added to the seasonal Flu vaccine, so that should help.”
Just because we have not been hearing much about the virus does not mean we are out the woods quite yet. Officials say to keep getting vaccinated because the numbers of infection are low, which means there is limited exposure to H1N1 and people can build immunity. This also does not mean to stop taking all the necessary precautions to keep from getting ill, just because there is a lull in the amount of infection does not mean it won’t spike again. The CDC claims that when college students return home, they may bring the infection with them and spread it to family and friends.
SSo for now, we don’t have to brace ourselves for a third “wave”, but as previously mentioned the public should not let down its guard. Although some may feel as though the illness was overplayed, the reality is that it affected 41 million people nation wide and is connected to 10,000 deaths and localized cases are being reported daily. Although the numbers are fewer, the effects are just as devastating as before, so just keep washing those hands a lot.