UPDATED 10/1 @ 11:40 a.m.: Two possible cases of H1N1 reported in Arenac County

Vaccine coming soon


ARENAC COUNTY — The H1N1 Virus, commonly called the swine flu, may be present in Arenac County.

According to the Michigan Department of Community Health’s aggregate report, which is updated regularly when a case of H1N1 is suspected, two possible cases were reported in the week of Sept. 20-26.

Although the symptoms haven’t been confirmed as swine flu, Dr. Robert Graham, Medical Director for the Central Michigan District Health Department, said despite the cases not being confirmed as H1N1, he’s not shocked at the news.

“It wouldn’t surprise me at all if there were cases of H1N1 in Arenac County,” he said. “We know that most of the influenza that doctors are seeing in their patients is the H1N1.”

Graham said the symptoms of H1N1 and seasonal flu are similar, although H1N1 may often cause more diarrhea and vomiting in its victims. The difference, Graham said, is in the age of individuals suffering from either seasonal flu or swine flu.

He said currently, H1N1 is commonly being found in people aged 24 and under, while seasonal flu, at this time, is the influenza commonly affecting people 65 and older.

Even though the swine flu outbreak came with reports of deaths throughout the county, and world, Graham said for healthy patients, treatment isn’t needed in most cases of H1N1.

“The people who are at greater risk of fatality are people with clinical illnesses,” Graham said, adding diabetes patients, or those undergoing medical treatment for another illness. “If healthy, they don’t need treatment, they’ll usually get better in three to five days.”

The MDCH reported 5,515 cases of possible swine flu for the week of Sept. 20-26.

Vaccine coming soon

Graham said the early form of an H1N1 vaccination, which will be in the form of a nasal spray, should be available from the CMDHD soon, as he said 2-3 million doses are being made available nationwide in early October, with flu shots being made available in mid-October.

“In a couple of weeks, we should be getting the shots for H1N1,” he said. “We already have the seasonal flu vaccine.”

Graham also said 45 million doses of H1N1 shots would be available throughout the country, and after those are exhausted, 20 million doses per week would be distributed until the need for the vaccine was met.

However, the CMDHD Medical Director added that since different doses are needed for children and adults, and the number for each out of the total distribution is unknown, it is making it difficult for the health department to plan its clinics.

“We’re putting all the pieces into place the best we can without having a lot of information,” Graham said.

Check back for updates.


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