Rockford's Independent Newspaper

Flu cases nearing 2009 swine flu numbers

By Katie Finlon 

Health officials across the country report flu cases are starting to match numbers seen from the H1N1 outbreak nearly a decade ago.

There have been nearly as many doctor’s visits for flu-like illness now as there were in 2009 for swine flu nationwide. That’s according to a recent report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Melaney Arnold is a spokeswoman for the Illinois Department of Public Health. She says the case numbers in the state are higher than most flu seasons in recent years, but they are not nearly as high as the peak seen in the 2009-2010 season.

Arnold says there was already a peak and a decrease for the season, but there appears to be another increase happening.

“One thing we do know about influenza, seasonal influenza, is that it is unpredictable,” she says.

Arnold says people should still get a flu shot if they haven’t already. She says as long as the flu season is still happening, people can receive the vaccine in the season’s 11- to-20-week duration.

Even if this year’s vaccine could only be 30 percent effective or less, Arnold says that is still better than no protection at all.

“Even if it is 30 percent effective, that’s still better than no protection,” she says.

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