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1 in 1000 in Indiana Have Already Had H1N1

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  • 1 in 1000 in Indiana Have Already Had H1N1

    INDIANAPOLIS -- At least one of every 1,000 Indiana residents has contracted H1N1 flu and there have been four deaths from the virus, but the state's health commissioner reassured lawmakers Tuesday that if the pandemic worsened, Indiana is prepared.

    The Indiana State Department of Health estimated that at least 6,000 people in this state, and possibly as many as 23,000, have contracted the H1N1 virus, otherwise known as swine flu, Indiana Health Commissioner Judy Monroe told the Health Finance Commission. Indiana's population is 6.38 million.

    Among Indiana patients, 74 percent are 18 and younger, she said.

    The health commissioner said the flu pandemic remains at the lowest level of severity in the United States and that her agency expects to have enough vaccine to inoculate members of at-risk groups and enough anti-viral medication to treat everyone who needs it.

    "We have a susceptible population because it's a new virus" -- one that has crowded out other flu viruses from circulating more widely, Monroe said.

    The World Health Organization declared a swine flu pandemic, or global outbreak, in June, and the virus is expected to make a strong return in the fall and winter. A presidential advisory panel said last week it was "plausible" the U.S. later this year would have large-scale infections, possibly with 30,000 to 90,000 deaths, mostly among young children and young adults.

    Indiana has more than 1 million people in groups considered most at risk for contracting or spreading the virus. Those groups are being targeted to receive vaccines once they become available next month, she said.

    They include more than 380,000 children between the ages of 6 months and 4 years, more than 200,000 health care workers who are exposed to patients, and more than 175,000 people age 5 and older living with children younger than 6 months.

    Indiana should receive an initial shipment of more than 830,000 doses of vaccine by mid-October, then about 400,000 doses weekly after that, Monroe said.

    Health experts have said most people are expected to need two doses given three weeks apart.

    If the pandemic worsened, hospitals and local health department are prepared to manage it, Monroe said.

    "There are very robust plans across the state," she said.

    Universities, schools and employers should encourage students and workers to stay home if they contract the virus, Monroe said.

    "The last thing we want is for people to feel penalized if they stay home," she said.

    The swine flu is spread by sneezes and infected hands and possibly other means of human contact, she said. Despite its name, it is not spread by pork products.

    http://www.theindychannel.com/news/20669182/detail.html
    The salvage of human life ought to be placed above barter and exchange ~ Louis Harris, 1918
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