For Immediate Release
Mike Heideman, 785-296-4363
If you haven’t already been vaccinated against the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus you should do so, according to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment (KDHE). January 10-16 is National Influenza Vaccination Week, and although cases of H1N1 flu in the state have decreased significantly over the past few weeks, a rebound in flu activity is possible.
“There is now plenty of vaccine available, and it has been shown to be safe and effective,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, Kansas State Health Officer and Director of the Division of Health at KDHE. “In contrast, we know that the pandemic H1N1 flu can be severe or even fatal.”
Health care workers – especially those who have contact with patients – are among those especially recommended to be vaccinated against the pandemic H1N1 virus.
“Some health care professionals are at greater risk because they treat severely sick people. In addition, if large numbers of health care staff get sick all at once, this jeopardizes the ability of all patients to receive needed care,” stated Roderick L. Bremby, Secretary of KDHE.
The Kansas Immunization Program (KIP) at KDHE has facilitated the shipment of more than 855,000 doses of vaccine since October 1 to public health departments, health care providers and retail pharmacies across the state. Up-to-date information on H1N1 vaccination clinics being held in Kansas can be found by going to www.kdheks.gov and clicking on “Where can I receive the H1N1vaccine?”
The symptoms of infection with the pandemic H1N1 virus are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever of 100 degrees or greater, body aches, coughing, sore throat, respiratory congestion, and in some cases, diarrhea and vomiting. Most people who have been ill with pandemic H1N1 influenza have recovered without medical treatment. However, some people develop serious complications that require hospitalization or may lead to death.
KDHE has established a phone number for concerned Kansans to call with questions about the 2009 H1N1 influenza A virus. The toll-free number is 1-877-427-7317. Operators will be available to answer questions from 8 a.m. – 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. Persons calling will be directed to press “1” on their touch-tone phone to be directed to an operator who can answer questions. Kansans can also email H1N1fluinfo@kdheks.gov, or visit www.kdheks.gov.