H1N1 cases on the rise ahead of flu season

October 2, 2009 6:24:07 PM PDT
Pregnant women are being urged to protect themselves against the swine flu. This comes as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is reporting H1N1 cases are already on the rise ahead of the flu season.

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So far, the H1N1 virus has been especially hard on pregnant women. Of the 100 pregnant women in intensive care hospitalization with swine flu in the country, 28 have died.

"It's one thing among many that a pregnant woman should be concerned about," Alta Bates Summit OB-GYN Dr. William Isenberg said. "She should realize she's in a special category because of her pregnancy. She should protect herself and her family well."

Another high risk group is children. In the Mt. Diablo school district, this school year there have been eight confirmed cases of H1N1, including one at Mt. Diablo Elementary School.

Other districts also report probable cases.

Classrooms have been disinfected, but there are no plans to close schools.

"We've had a couple of cases each week, in terms of those who've been hospitalized or passed away," Alameda County health officer Dr. Muntu Davis said. "We expect it to pick up as more schools come back into sessions, as colleges start up, as the true flu season starts."

A H1N1 vaccine for is expected next week.

In the meantime, people are advised to get their seasonal flu shot.

And the CDC recommends high risk groups get another for bacterial pneumonia, a common factor in h1n1 deaths.

"Bacteria were present, in terms of bacterial pneumonia in about a third of those fatalities," Rear Adm. Dr. Anne Schuchat of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Disease said.

When they do arrive, the first doses of H1N1 vaccine will likely come in the form of a nasal spray, not recommended for those who are pregnant or chronically ill.

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