MADISON (WKOW) -- Influenza-like illness activity is higher than normal in Wisconsin this fall and sporadic cases of H1N1 have been reported statewide.
According to information from emergency room admissions and family practitioners show there has been a slight rise in H1N1 cases over the past two weeks. Those emergency room admissions are now starting to decline. Because of that decline, health officials say it looks like Wisconsin has not started experiencing widespread H1N1 activity.
There is a higher number of H1N1 cases in the southern region of Wisconsin because of a large number of cases at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. The UW does report that the number of students seen for influenza-like symptoms did decline last week. The rest of the state continue to report low influenza-like illness activity. With schools now open, it is expected that influenza-like illnesses will rise.
None of the H1N1 viruses detected in Wisconsin have been resistant to anti-viral medications. Most of the laboratory confirmed cases in Wisconsin have been identified as H1N1. Since the H1N1 outbreak started in the spring, eight Wisconsin deaths have been linked to the virus. Between April 25 and August 29, 239 hospitalizations have been linked to the virus. Since the beginning of September, six hospitalizations for H1N1 have been reported. No deaths have been linked to the virus since September 1, 2009.
A vaccine for H1N1 has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The vaccine is being made using the seasonal influenza vaccine process. The CDC says the vaccine is safe and effective.
The CDC has established a vaccine distribution system. H1N1 vaccine orders will be placed through each state's public health department. Wisconsin's Department of Health has already set up a way for public and private health care providers to order through the state. The first state order for the H1N1 vaccine will be placed on September 30th. The vaccine distributors will ship orders directly to health care providers. Providers in Wisconsin are expected to receive initial shipments by early to mid-October.
The CDC expects there to be enough of the H1N1 vaccine for anyone who wants it to receive the vaccine. However, The CDC will use a phased-in approach for distribution because vaccine manufacturers are still making the vaccine. In a normal year, the U.S. hands out 100 million doses of seasonal vaccine. This year, the CDC ordered 195 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine. The CDC is able to order more if needed.
Because manufacturers are still producing the vaccine, the CDC is recommending that the priority groups listed below be the first to receive the H1N1 vaccine:
More vaccine will be made and distributed throughout the influenza season. The CDC is indicating that there will eventually be enough H1N1 vaccine for anyone who wants it to receive it.
The seasonal flu is also a concern this fall. More seasonal influenza cases are expected to be reported later this fall. Currently, 99% of current influenza cases tested have been identified as H1N1. The CDC says there is also plenty of seasonal influenza vaccine available. The Seasonal influenza vaccine is currently being shipped to providers across the state. State health officials are encouraging people to get their seasonal influenza shot now before the H1N1 vaccine is available. State officials and the CDC recommend the public to receive both seasonal and H1N1 influenza vaccines because both viruses will be circulating this season.
You can keep up to date on the spread of H1N1 by clicking here. You can also call 211 with general questions. If you become ill, you should call your health care provider.