PORTLAND, Ore., Jan. 7, 2014 — Pulmonologists from The Oregon Clinic say it’s not too late to get your flu shot and help prevent yourself and others from getting sick this winter. According to Thomas H. Schaumberg, M.D., Pulmonary and Critical Care Medicine, The Oregon Clinic:
There has been a spike in H1N1 influenza infections and an associated increase in hospitalizations throughout the area.
- The increase has been noted over the last 2-3 weeks and clearly has not peaked
- It will probably continue to increase particularly given the amount of travel that occurs around the Holidays
- Our flu “seasons” tend to last 10-12 weeks, i.e. expect that we will be seeing H1N1 through February
- According to the CDC, almost 98% of the flu this year is “A” and the vast majority of influenza that has been typed is H1N1 (the same as 2009)
- H1N1 was in the vaccine available this year
- 98% of the influenza strains tested have been susceptible to oseltamivir (Tamiflu)
- Most of the cases that we have seen in the hospital so far have been in people that have not had a vaccine
It’s not too late to get vaccinated!
At The Oregon Clinic we are reminding patients to cover their mouths when they cough, providing hand sanitizer, and also providing masks to people if they have cold/flu like illness and they need to be seen. We ask patients if they have had a flu shot when they are being checked in and if not, ask them if they want one.
We encourage patients not to come in for a “routine” follow up if they have mild flu like illness, without compromise to their underling condition.
If patients do have flu-like symptoms, and need to be seen here, we will put them in a room ASAP and not have them “hang out” out in the waiting room exposing other patients. If they have more severe symptoms or significant baseline co-morbidities, we send them to the emergency room for further evaluation and care.
Here is further information from Ann Thomas, MD, MPH
, a public health physician in the Acute & Communicable Disease Prevention Section of the Oregon Public Health Division. Dr. Thomas shared this information in a January 6, 2014 guest column in the Portland Business Journal’s Healthcare Inc. Northwest:
“H1N1 is rearing its ugly head again this year. Mostly quiet since the 2009 pandemic, the infamous strain is so far behind about 90 percent of the flu-related hospitalizations, which have climbed sharply since early October. The number of people admitted to hospitals for influenza in Washington, Clackamas and Multnomah counties has increased 350 percent between Dec. 8 and Dec. 28—from 18 to 81. The number of positive flu tests reported to the Oregon State Public Health Laboratory by hospitals in the tri-county metro area and health care providers around the state almost tripled during that time, with the rate of outpatient visits with reported influenza-like illness at 4.35 percent. Once that number is above 1 percent, flu season is here.”
You can read the full article here
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Physicians are available for comment, interview, etc. – contact Amy Myers at [email protected]
or 503-807-8929 to make arrangements.