H1N1 Activity Now 'Widespread'

The Kentucky Department of Public Health now says H1N1 flu activity in Kentucky is widespread, which is the highest level.

A declaration of widespread flu activity is rare for this time of year, but health officials say they aren’t concerned. Public Health Commissioner William Hacker says H1N1 is no more dangerous than other flu strains, even though there was concern about the dangers of the virus earlier this year.

“Since it was a brand-new virus we really did not have a good epidemiological study to know how virulent or—in other words how dangerous—the virus would be, and so the CDC was recommending very aggressive monitoring and intervention,” he says. Symptoms include, “…headache, fever, sore throat, chills…some people become very seriously ill and certainly they need to be seen by their healthcare provider. Most people, fortunately, with this particular outbreak, have two to four days of illness, feeling pretty rotten, but can handle it at home with taking Tylenol.”

The H1N1 vaccine is expected to be available next month. Hacker says priority doses will go to pregnant women, healthcare professionals and child care workers, with subsequent doses being made available to the public.