H1N1: 'Swine flu' dominant strain this year - KSLA News 12 Shreveport, Louisiana News Weather & Sports

H1N1: 'Swine flu' dominant strain this year


Two Cherokee Park Elementary students in Caddo Parish are recovering from the H1N1 flu virus. H1N1 popped up as a pandemic in 2009, and most people associate it with panic. Talk and fear of the H1N1 flu virus is spreading just about as rapidly as the flu itself. It turns out, if you had the flu this season, you probably had H1N1.

"When we talk about flu strains, we're talking about differences that are like different kinds of ice cream. The H1N1 is a particular strain of flu that is the dominant strain that is circulating right now" Dr. John A. Vanchiere, with LSU Health Shreveport, says. The Department of Health and Hospitals says about 80% of all flu cases in Louisiana this season are H1N1.

"Any place, any work place, any school, any family who has the flu, had H1N1 there" Dr. Martha Whyte, with the Department of Health and Hospitals, says.

"It tends to be fairly mild in adults, the problems with the H1N1 strain that we are seeing right now are that it particularly effects young children very harshly and also pregnant women" Vanchiere says.

The number of flu cases this year is higher by about 3%. Most of those cases are H1N1. "There's no reason to freak out, people need to be calm, take the routine precautions, wash hands, take care of yourself" Vanchiere says.

"The only way you get the flu, is to get it from someone else" Whyte says. She recommends getting your flu shot, it's not too late to vaccinate. "This year it is one of the strains in the vaccine so the match is good for what is circulating in the community" Vanchiere says.

Flu season usually lasts through the end of February, so the DHH says to expect more cases of H1N1 in the area. Select doctor's offices and emergency rooms around the state report their flu-like cases to the state and CDC to keep track of the strains effecting people.

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