Georgia sees flu cases rise again, CDC reports

After weeks of steady decline, Georgia and the country as a whole saw an increase in pandemic influenza A H1N1 activity in recent reports, officials said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention encourages more people, particularly adults and senior citizens, to get vaccinated and is launching a campaign this weekend to do that.

“I think complacency is probably our top enemy right now,” said Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at CDC.

After declining to three hospitalizations for the week ending Dec. 22, the number of hospitalizations from the new virus jumped to 14 and then 26 for the week that ended Tuesday.

Nationally, there was a slight “uptick” in the number of people going to doctors and Emergency Rooms with influenza-like illness and also in the number of deaths due to influenza and pneumonia, Dr. Schuchat said.

“This is something we’re really keeping our eye,” she said of those deaths.

H1N1 vaccine supply continues to be good, with 136 million doses produced so far, and Dr. Schuchat estimated that at least 60 million people have gotten it, many of them children. Adults who may have put off getting it should now go and get it, particularly if they are at higher risk from flu, she said.

During a pandemic in 1957-58, health officials saw a decline in activity in December and January and did not stress vaccination, only to be hit by another wave of illness, Dr. Schuchat said.

“We don’t want to repeat the story of 1957,” she said.

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