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H1N1 Flu Spreading in South-Central U.S.

This flu strain tends to hit younger adults harder than older adults, CDC says


Young said it's doubtful that the H1N1 flu will reach a pandemic level like in 2009. There are several reasons for optimism, he noted.

First, millions of people have already been vaccinated against H1N1 flu, and millions of others have been exposed to it since 2009, he said.

In 2009, the new type of H1N1 flu appeared in the United States for the first time, according to health officials.

For a flu strain like H1N1 to become pandemic it has to "find a group of people that has never seen anything like it before. We don't have that population anymore," he added.

During the 2009 H1N1 pandemic, there were 17,855 cases of infection and 45 deaths, according to the CDC.

Besides vaccination, Young recommends frequent hand washing and covering your mouth when you cough as ways to help prevent getting or spreading the flu. Also, stay at home if you're sick and keep children with the flu out of school, he said.

"The season hasn't peaked yet. There is still going to be a lot of flu activity. Vaccine takes two weeks to really kick in, so the sooner people get their vaccine the better," Young said.

The number of Americans who get vaccinated against the flu hovers around 40 percent to 45 percent, Young said. "That's short of what we would like to see, which is 70 percent. That's our 'Healthy People 2020' goal. We are not there yet."

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