Michael Osterholm, director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research and Policy at the University of Minnesota, had dire warnings yesterday of what the next few weeks could bring, reports MPR:
“I actually have the data from just as late as last night in the emergency departments of Atlanta and I’m telling you they are in free fall,” Osterholm said. “As we speak today, they tripled the highest number of in-patient visits they’d ever had, even dating into June and July time period, for kids with influenza-like illness. They have virtually run out of liquid Tamiflu.
“That is a harbinger of things to come that we’re going to see here because we’re off by about two to three weeks,” he said.
The most important news is still prevention. Most of the prevention advice is the same: wash your hands frequently, avoid touching your eyes and nose, stay home if you have the flu.
The “new” news is that the swine flu vaccine is on the way, probably arriving in October, and possibly effective after only a single shot.
Some of the regular flu vaccines are in now, but not for all clinics. (My clinic won’t get their shipment until October 15, and won’t get the swine flu vaccine at all.) Call around to see where this vaccine is available – maybe local drug stores or grocery stores. The swine flu vaccine should arrive in the state some time in October.
According to the Minnesota Department of Health, the swine flu vaccine will be available at some pharmacies and local public health departments. They say they have a website that will help you find a flu shot location near you – for regular flu shots now, and for swine flu shots once they become available. The website is www.mdhflu.com, but as of this morning, it is not working.
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