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As Swine Flu Ebbs, Officials Stress Importance of Vaccine
Date:1/8/2010

Cases now widespread in just one state, but a resurgence could occur, CDC experts warn,,

FRIDAY, Jan. 8 (HealthDay News) -- As the H1N1 swine flu outbreak eases to a point where it is now widespread in just one state, federal health officials are still urging Americans to get their swine flu shot.

"On Sunday we start National Influenza Vaccination Week," Kathleen Sebelius, Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said during a Friday afternoon teleconference. "It's a way to remind the public that getting the vaccine is still incredibly important."

"No flu should be dismissed as 'just the flu,' is an important message," she said. "Flu can be serious and flu can be deadly."

The flu can take a toll on people of all ages, but in the current H1N1 swine flu pandemic the burden falls heaviest on children and young adults. Since April the U. S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than 1,000 children and almost 7,500 adults ages 18 to 64 have died.

The H1N1 outbreak is slowing down around the country. On Friday, the CDC released statistics to show that infections remain widespread in only one state, Alabama. But the agency also warned that flu is still abnormally high for this time of year, and might resurge as children return to school after the holidays.

"It is likely that flu cases will pick up this winter," Sebelius told reporters. "You might even see an additional big wave of H1N1 -- that has been part of the past history and we are trying to avoid that."

With the lull in H1N1 flu activity, a window of opportunity has opened to get people vaccinated, she said. "We've got about 132 million doses of vaccine allocated to state and local health departments and more is coming every week -- enough for everyone who wants to get vaccinated."

In addition, there is more than enough vaccine to get children under 10 the two doses of va
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