It was last April that swine flu cases first started appearing.
“It’s been one heck of a year.”
California Department of Public Health Director Dr. Mark Horton says the state’s been through two waves of the illness. About nine-thousand Californians have been hospitalized with H1N1 and nearly 600 have died from the virus. Horton says though the pandemic has receded for now, H1N1 is still out there:
"When we’ve looked back historically what has happened with similar pandemics in the past there have been in many cases third and fourth waves.”
Horton says if that does happen, the state still has a network of doctors set up to alert health officials:
“The surveillance mechanisms are still in place to allow us to at the earliest possible sign to detect any re-increase of influenza activity in the community and we’ll be ramping that up again as we move closer to the fall.”
Horton says the state is better prepared if there is another wave. That’s because up to 12 million Californians have been vaccinated against swine flu – and millions of others have some immunity because they’ve had the virus. Horton says the seasonal vaccine coming out this fall will include protection against H1N1.