The big threat has fizzled and while the number of H1N1 flu cases in Iowa is still slowly rising, the state is no longer tracking every confirmed case. State epidemiologist Dr. Patricia Quinlisk says state health officials will now only be keeping tabs on the so-called swine flu as they do with the seasonal flu.
Quinlisk says, "We’ll get the information we need to make sure we’re keeping track of what’s going on with flu in Iowa but that does not mean that we have to get every single person with flu reported to us." She says the change is due to the fact the disease is much less severe than first thought and because Governor Culver’s emergency health proclamation recently expired.
Quinlisk says state health officials will continue to maintain watch on all flu cases. "What that does is it gives us a general idea of what’s going on with flu in Iowa and we can keep track of what strains are going around the state of Iowa," Quinlisk says. "What we don’t get is every single person who has influenza-like illness reported to us."
She says the normal flu surveillance system uses selected health care facilities throughout the state and monitors some long-term care centers and schools. More than ninety cases of swine flu have been confirmed in Iowa in the past several weeks, but she expects the number of new cases to drop dramatically as the temperatures rise.
The number of seasonal flu cases typically fall way down at this time of year and she says with schools letting out for the summer, kids won’t be in such close contact with each other and likely won’t be passing H1N1 or other flus. While the risk of infection may be lower, Quinlisk still urges all Iowans to maintain proper health habits.