Flu arrives in state

Published 1:15 pm Monday, September 25, 2006

By By Lisa Tindell
The flu virus arrived early in Alabama this year - but local physicians say there should be plenty of flu vaccine to go around.
Area residents and physicians are watching the early arrival of the disease with much interest. The flu has sickened 11 people in the Ozark area and one in Mobile.
After vaccine shortages were apparent for last year's flu season, there has been some concern over the availability of vaccines for this year's season.
Some physicians are beginning to administer flu shots in the Brewton area after receiving deliveries during the past week.
Vaccines used for the 2006-2007 flu season were taken from virus collections in Asia, Vietnam and eastern Russia, among other eastern regions Raulerson said.
According to information from the Center for Disease Control, flu vaccinations should be offered to people when they are seen by health-care providers for routine care or as a result of hospitalization beginning in September.
People of all ages should try to get vaccinated in October or November because flu activity in the United States generally peaks between late December and early March, CDC officials said.
Anyone can still benefit from getting vaccinated after November, even if flu is present in the community.
Vaccine should continue to be offered to unvaccinated people throughout the flu season as long as vaccine is still available. Once you get vaccinated, your body makes protective antibodies in about two weeks.
Officials with the Alabama Department of Public Health have confirmed 11 early-season influenza cases in the Ozark area. In addition, there is one laboratory-confirmed positive influenza case from Mobile County which is under further investigation. Samples are being sent to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's laboratories for further analysis.
Influenza usually starts suddenly and may include the following symptoms: