The number of reported cases of the H1N1 virus at CSU and in Larimer County has declined significantly since the pandemic climaxed in late October and left health providers optimistic, officials said this week.
But, although fewer people are reporting sick in recent months, it doesnâ€™t mean swine flu is gone for good.
â€œPandemics are so unpredictable,â€ said Jane Viste, spokesperson for the Larimer County Health Department. â€œâ€¦ (We) donâ€™t know whatâ€™s down the line.â€
â€œHistory shows that sometimes pandemics wind down and can pick up,â€ she said.
The current virus could mutate, resulting in another wave of infection in the spring, both Viste and Kathy Waller, a CSU Health Center physician, said.
Because infection rates have leveled off, both CSU and the county are now vaccinating all individuals, not just those people in the high-priority flu groups.Â High-priority members included people caring for newborns 6 months old or younger, pregnant women and people with respiratory conditions.
CSUâ€™s Health Network currently has about 300 H1N1 vaccinations.Â About 200 are traditional and 100 in the nasal-spray form, Waller said.
There is no charge to students, faculty or staff to receive the vaccination at the health network. Walk-in vaccination hours are 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.
CSU has vaccinated about 2,000 people since it received its first vaccine shipments from the Centers for Disease Control in late October.
The county estimates it has vaccinated between 18,000 and 19,000 people at its clinics. This figure does not include vaccination totals from CSU, local physicians and other clinics, Viste said, and the total number of people vaccinated in Larimer County is likely closer to 65,000.
As the supply of vaccines coming to the county from the CDC wanes â€“â€“Â more shipments are going to private physicians and pharmacies â€“â€“Â Viste said people should call the Larimer County Health Department before coming in to check vaccine availability.
Neither Waller nor Viste could be sure of what to expect from the seasonal flu this season â€“â€“Â cases typically arise at about this time.
â€œIt could be that H1N1 is the seasonal strain that we will see,â€ Waller said, noting that this has been the case in Australia and other regions of the world.
And though rates of infection are low, both Viste and Waller encouraged those who have not already to get the vaccine and practice the following:
-proper hand washing techniques,
-staying home if sick,
-self-isolation, so as not to infect others, and
-eating well and resting.
News Managing Editor Madeline Novey can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Vaccinations available at CSU
-200 traditional vaccines
-100 FluMist, nasal spray vaccine
Vaccination is free for students, faculty and staff
Monday through Friday
9 a.m. to noon
1 to 4 p.m.
Vaccinations available through larimer county
Call for availability
-Colorado Information Line:
-Web site: http://www.lariemrflu.org
-Vaccination for Larimer County residents is free if obtained at a health department clinic. Some health care providers may charge for the vaccination. Both Medicaid and Medicare can be billed by private providers for the H1N1 vaccine.