Doctors Predict Third Wave of H1N1

The flu season has not been as severe as public health officials feared. However — the natural progression of the flu indicates a new wave of outbreaks could take place over the next few weeks. As Laurie Johnson reports — there is still a strong chance that H1N1 will spread again.

The unique thing about this flu season is that seasonal flu has been almost non-existent — shoved aside by H1N1.

Dr. David Persse is the Public Health Authority for the City of Houston. He says health officials are concerned this may be a lull before another wave of H1N1 hits.

"Flus are notoriously difficult to predict, but if you look back at history when we've had pandemics before and you look at the timing of when they began — when the first wave hit, based on that we should expect that we'll probably have a third wave this spring."

The difference this time is there is plenty of vaccine for everyone, not just those in the priority groups.

"The city health department has plenty at all of our clinics. We understand from our partners in the community that doctors' offices have quite a bit available. And certainly we're seeing the signs up at all your neighborhood pharmacies and the supermarkets that have pharmacies in them that they're still advertising that they've got vaccine available. So it looks like there's quite a bit available."

Persse says everyone who can be vaccinated should be vaccinated, not only for your own protection, but for the people around you.

"Everybody who has contracted the flu, been admitted to the hospital and died, tragically they caught that flu from somebody else."

All City of Houston health clinics offer the H1N1 vaccine free of charge to Houston residents. Private clinics and pharmacies also administer the vaccine, usually for a charge between $10 and $20.

Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...