Swine flu cases in slowdown
BY KIM ARCHER World Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
11/24/09 at 9:59 AM
Swine flu circulation in Oklahoma may have hit its peak — at least for now, health officials say.
"In fact, we are seeing it slow down," said Larry Weatherford, spokesman for the Oklahoma State Department of Health. "But the nature of pandemics is they arrive in waves."
Hospitalizations have dropped significantly each of the last three weeks, from 128 to 46 since the last week of October, he said. Since Sept. 1, 918 Oklahomans have been hospitalized due to complications from swine flu; 506 of those were children, state data show.
Although the number of deaths remained high in recent weeks, Weatherford said the state reports deaths when they are verified rather than when they occurred. There is often a lag between when the death occurred and when the state is able to verify the cause as H1N1 virus, he said.
Weatherford said the slowdown in the circulation of the novel virus gives people a chance to get vaccinated in the event another wave of swine flu comes through.
Although the state typically doesn't track seasonal flu, a death from the seasonal variety was noted last week.
"It's not as if we're seeing more of it," Weatherford said. There have been few cases of seasonal flu in the state. It generally emerges in late November and stays through March, peaking in January or February, he said.
Oklahoma is one of the few, if not the only state, offering its swine flu vaccine to anybody who wants it, Weatherford said.
The state opened access to the vaccine to everybody last week.
So far, 34 Oklahomans have died of swine flu complications. Of those, 24 people had documented underlying conditions that may have increased their risk of complications or death from the new virus, according to state data.
The most common underlying conditions among those who died were asthma or other respiratory illnesses, diabetes, obesity or immune-compromising conditions, state data shows.
Nine of those who died were children, 12 were adults between 25 and 49 years of age, eight were adults between 50 and 64 years of age, and five were 65 or older, data shows.
Where to get your H1N1
- Tuesday, 2 p.m. to 7 p.m., expo
exchange Center. Those wanting
the vaccine should enter at 21st
Street between Harvard and Yale
avenues at Gate 12. The clinic entrance
is on the west side of the
expo exchange Center building.
- Dec. 3, 3p.m. to 7 p.m., Tulsa
Community College West
campus, 7505 W. 41st St.
- Dec. 12, 9 a.m. to noon,
Oral Roberts University’s
Mabee Center, 7777 S.
Pregnant women and children younger than 10 who need
a booster vaccination can go to the Tulsa Health Department’s
walk-in clinics from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.:
- James O. Goodwin Health Center, 5051 S. 129th East Ave.
- Central regional Health Center, 315 S. Utica Ave.
- Expo Square Health Center, 4616 E. 15th St.
For a complete list of H1N1 vaccine clinics across the state,
For more information, call the flu hot line 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
weekdays at 595-4500 or 582-9355 or visit tulsaworld.com/swineflu.
Kim Archer 581-8315