H1N1 Flu Virus Hits Northeast Wisconsin - WBAY

H1N1 Flu Virus Hits Northeast Wisconsin


Its not on anyone's wish list, but this holiday season many people got it anyway.

The flu.

It sent 81 people to hospitals across the state in just the last week according to the health department.  Some of those cases were here in Northeast Wisconsin.

"As of December 30th we've had 6 hospitalizations, 6 patients that needed to be hospitalized for influenza one of which was in the ICU and needed mechanical ventilation," says Dr. Michael Landrum, an Infectious Disease Specialist with Bellin Health.

He says the majority of those flu cases can be attributed to the H1N1 virus, which is similar to what hospitals across the nation are experiencing.

Sometimes referred to as the "Swine Flu", H1N1 sparked a nationwide pandemic in 2009, causing thousands of deaths, according to the CDC.

Now four years later ...

"As far as H1N1, we're seeing that that's the predominant strain this year," says Dr. Landrum.

The number of H1N1 cases reported in Wisconsin doubled in the past two weeks according to data from the state health department. 

With the flu season is expected to peak in January or February, how worried should we be?

"I wouldn't be any more concerned about H1N1 versus other types of flu, they can all be equally serious," Dr. Landrum.

The flu is usually most dangerous to the oldest and youngest members of the population, but H1N1 is different.

"The unique thing about H1N1 when it came out in 2009 was that it affected more younger people than we typically see," explains Dr. Landrum.

The virus seems to target healthy people between the age of 20 and 50 but washing your hands regularly and getting a flu shot both can reduce your risk of getting sick.

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