Public health officials ready for H1N1 flu cases this fall - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Public health officials ready for H1N1 flu cases this fall

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IOWA CITY (KWWL) - As doctors at the University of Iowa prepare to test an H1N1 vaccine, public health officials are looking ahead to this fall, when the H1N1 virus hits its stride alongside the regular flu bug.

The effects of an H1N1 vaccine are yet to be seen, and people will need a separate shot for the regular influenza-A strain.

That could make this fall confusing for many people as they visit immunization clinics, according to Doug Beardsley, Director of the Johnson County Department of Public Health.

"One of the theories is that some who are older may get some immunity from one of the other influenza-A viruses or strains that have been floating out there over the years," Beardsley told us.

Beardsley strongly recommends getting your regular flu vaccination as early as possible, to clear the decks for the first round of H1N1 shots.

"We're working right now on scenarios of if we have limited supply, how are we gonna roll it out and reach to those priority groups." Priority groups include young children, pregnant women, and the elderly.

The Johnson County Department of Public Health is working with local schools to determine how many cases of H1N1 would prompt a shutdown.

"There's no specific threshold to when you reach "x" number of cases, you must shut down schools."

Beardsley says its still too early to tell if there will be a shortage of H1N1 vaccine.

Beardsley says while much of the research on the H1N1 vaccine is high-tech, he says the old-fashioned mainstays of washing your hands and staying home when you feel sick, will prevent the sickness from spreading.

Online Reporter - Brady Smith

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