DHH status on H1N1 in Louisiana


Press Release from Department of Health and Hospitals:

BATON ROUGE - The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals updated the status of the state's Fight the Flu campaign today. As the H1N1 vaccination campaign moves forward, it is important for Louisiana families to be patient if their provider has not yet received the H1N1 vaccine, as more vaccine is arriving every week. Residents should stay in contact with their provider as to the vaccine's availability and to make an appointment when the time comes.

State Health Officer Jimmy Guidry, M.D., also announced that the Governor has proclaimed this week Pneumonia Awareness Week in Louisiana. Approximately 50,000 Louisianians contract pneumonia annually. In 2006, the latest year for which numbers are available, 1.2 million people in the U.S. were hospitalized with pneumonia and 55,477 people died from the disease. These numbers are despite the fact that a vaccine is available to combat many forms of bacterial pneumonia, and the vaccine is widely available throughout the country.

"Pneumonia is one of the most common causes of death in America from a vaccine-preventable disease, and is a common complication associated with severe cases of both seasonal and H1N1 flu," said Dr. Guidry. "According to the CDC, about 20 percent of fatalities nationwide from H1N1 have been influenza leading to a bacterial pneumonia. This underscores the importance for those in pneumonia target groups to receive the pneumonia vaccine. It can save lives."

The pneumococcal conjugate vaccine, PCV7, can be used in children under the age of 2 years. This age group is also a high-risk group for H1N1. This is especially important when considering that children under six months cannot receive any sort of flu vaccine, but those between two and six months can get the PCV7 vaccination.

The pneumococcal polysaccharide vaccine (PPSV) is currently recommended for use in all adults who are older than 65 years of age and for people who are two years and older and at high risk for disease. The CDC also recommends it for any adult 19 through 64 years of age who is a smoker or has asthma. People over two years old with pre-existing conditions are also one of the high-risk groups for H1N1.

Louisianians are encouraged to contact their health care provider as to whether or not they should receive the pneumonia vaccine. According to the National Foundation for Infectious Diseases, the pneumococcal vaccine has been available for more than 20 years in the United States, yet more than one-third of people 65 years of age and older reported that they have not received the pneumococcal vaccine, and fewer than 20 percent of adults in other high-risk groups who should get the pneumococcal vaccine have received it.

This Week's H1N1 Vaccination Campaign Highlights

  • Of the 332,700 doses of H1N1 vaccine the state has ordered, the CDC reports that approximately 253,800 doses of H1N1 vaccine have been shipped to Louisiana as of Wednesday, October 28.
  • 544 providers in Louisiana have administered 31,094 doses of H1N1 vaccine.
  • It is important to remember that even though a provider has received H1N1 vaccine, it will take time to schedule appointments and vaccinate his or her target population.
  • The CDC reports on the national level that as of Friday, October 30, 26.6 million doses of vaccine were available nationwide, a 65 percent jump from the 16.1 million available October 23.

H1N1 Vaccination Campaign Summary

  • LAIV nasal spray vaccine continues to be available through registered providers, including pediatric providers. Most of these doses have been slated for use in children.
  • Additional shipments of H1N1 vaccine are expected every 5 to 10 days for the next 2 to 3 months, with pregnant women, front line health care workers, parents and other caregivers of children less than 6 months of age, and adults with pre-existing medical conditions as the next target groups for vaccination.
  • Every Louisianian who wants the vaccine should have access by the end of January.
  • Residents should check with their providers regarding the availability of H1N1 vaccine.
  • DHH will soon post a flu shot locator on www.FightTheFluLA.com, showing locations where vaccine will be available to the public in the target groups across the state.
  • DHH has launched a Twitter feed (FightTheFluLA) and a Facebook page to help ensure teenagers and young adults, both of which fall into high-risk groups for H1N1, have easy access to up to date information regarding the H1N1 virus and vaccine.

Overall Influenza Activity

  • There are now 1,706 lab confirmed cases of the H1N1 flu in the state of Louisiana.
  • Estimates derived by DHH in conjunction with CDC data indicate approximately 121,000 Louisianians currently have or have had the H1N1 flu.
  • DHH has confirmed six additional H1N1-related deaths in the past week, bringing Louisiana's total to 30:
  • o Two male children and two adult females from Region IV, the seven-parish area including Lafayette
  • o A male child from Region V, the five-parish area including Lake Charles
  • o An adult female from Region IX, which includes Livingston, St. Helena, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, and Washington parishes.

DHH's Fight the Flu campaign aims to keep Louisianians healthy by promoting immunizations and good hygiene to prevent the spread of the seasonal flu and the H1N1 virus. For more information on flu activity in Louisiana, including guidance for families and medical professionals, visit www.FightTheFluLA.com or follow the campaign at www.twitter.com/FightTheFluLA.

The Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals strives to protect and promote health statewide and to ensure access to medical, preventive and rehabilitative services for all state citizens. To learn more about DHH, visit http://www.dhh.louisiana.gov.