10-Point Checkup: H1N1 flu in Placer County widespread, vaccine on way

By: Gus Thomson, Journal Staff Writer
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1. Waiting for vaccine. Placer County was initially expecting its first big delivery in mid-October of 36,000 doses. It’s now not expected until the first week of November and may be a third fewer doses. 2. Placer fatalities. There have been three H1N1 deaths among Placer County residents since the virus spread to the area in April. 3. Hospital count. While H1N1 is being described as widespread in Placer County, just 17 residents have been hospitalized with it since mid-August. 4. Widespread prediction. As many as 100,000 of Placer County’s 330,000 residents are expected to come down with the disease within the next year. Most will never have to go to the doctor. 5. School surveillance. Schools have been reporting absence levels ranging two to three times the normal rate of 5 percent. 6. Sports spike. A few sports teams and a few classes have had more than 60 percent of students ill at one time. Like school absences in general this year, the increase is attributed to flu. 7. Thirtysomething illness. The median age of all Placer County residents hospitalized with H1N1 flu is 30, with patient ages ranging from infant to 69 years old. 8. First in line. A small initial allocation of 2,500 doses of the nasal mist was distributed in Placer County earlier this month to pediatricians. The initial targets for the vaccine are children under 10 and caregivers of infants less than six months of age. 9. More on the way. Dr. Mark Starr, of Placer County Health and Human Services, said once the vaccine starts arriving in November, expect a new block of vaccine every week for the next several weeks after that. 10. Seniors get a break. Healthy seniors ages 60 and over have built up some immunity to the H1N1 strain because of past flu viruses similar to the one now sweeping through the population. Information: Placer County Health & Human Services Department