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H1N1 starts flu season taking 48 lives


The H1N1 flu has taken 48 lives statewide this flu season.

Flu season has just begun.

“As of Nov. 17, Tennessee has 37 adult and 11 pediatric lab confirmed deaths associated with H1N1,” Andrea Turner, state communications director at the Tennessee Department of Health, said. They receive reports Tuesdays and Fridays.

The deaths of children must be reported to the health department, whereas adult deaths are not mandated the same way. The adult statistic may be too low.

Statistics on how many actual cases Knox County or the state of Tennessee has had are unknown, mostly because some people simply never go to the doctor. Others stay home, self-medicate, recover and are never counted as having H1N1, Turner said.

The number of H1N1 vaccine doses statewide currently is nearly 350,000 vaccinations. That is double the amount of the vaccinations of other states.


“Anyone who can receive it should get it. The [amount of available] vaccines are not at the level the CDC had hoped,” Turner said.

There are certain groups that are a priority to receive the H1N1 vaccine – health care workers, pregnant women, care givers of small children, children 6 months to 4 years, those ages 5-18 with medical conditions such as asthma; in general ages 6 months to 24 years and ages 25-64 with medical conditions such as diabetes, obesity and chronic lung conditions.

“These are our priority groups. Eventually, the doors will be wide open for everyone to have the vaccines. They will be giving them until February until they run out of vaccines,” Turner added.

For more information and to find clinics offering H1N1 flu shots, visit www.tn.gov/health and click on the Flu Shot locater on the Tennessee Department of Health’s website to find out where, when and what shot will be given. There also are free flu clinics listed when available. Turner asks the public to check the web site regularly to find out when you can find vaccination times and locations.

“Eventually, there will be a plentiful supply of vaccines,” she said.

Tennessee Department of Health is unable to give statistics on patients per county. Because many people travel to adjacent counties to see doctors, instead of staying in their own county.

“It’s impossible for us to determine the county a patient is from,” Turner said.

 

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