H1N1 Flu Hits Erie County - WICU12 HD WSEE Erie, PA News, Sports, Weather and Events

H1N1 Flu Hits Erie County

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The flu season is taking off along with the new year and rates are starting to spike in Erie County.

One unique point about this season's flu is that it's affecting younger people more than usual.   

The most Common strain doctors are seeing is H1N1 -the strain known as "Swine Flu" during the big 2009 outbreak that killed people all over the world, and sent many more to the hospital.

"H1N1 strains have always infected younger people than H2N2 strains. So there's an age preference, probably based on the protein characteristics of the virus," said Dr. Howard Nadworny, an infectious disease specialist at Saint Vincent in Erie.

"Coupled with the fact that young people do not get immunized as often as they should, there's a huge susceptible population that interacts with each other a lot, and so it's a perfect environment for spreading a virus," Nadworny said.

Twenty five states have already been classified as high flu activity by the CDC. Pennsylvania isn't one of them yet, but health care specialists believe that it won't be long before this state is also on that list.

The Erie County Health Department reports 95 cases of the flu this season, as of Monday morning.
Most of these cases were diagnosed within the past two weeks, and they say it's all just beginning.

The department says it's not too late to get vaccinated, since the flu is just starting to pick up in Erie. However, they advise to not wait any longer - the shot takes about two weeks before it starts working. 

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