H1N1: Will things get worse before they get better?

By Layron Livingston - bio | email
Posted by Ellen Krafve - bio | email

TYLER, TX (KLTV) - It was 12:15 inside the Cotton Belt building on Front Street in Tyler.

Kimberly Friend worked the lunch shift for the Texas Department of State Health Services,  taking calls and answering questions inside the H1N1 call center.

Dr. Paul McGaha, regional director, said 2.2 million doses have been delivered to the state, and East Texas is getting its fair share.  He says 107,000 doses are either here, or in the pipeline.

"We're trying as rapidly as we can to get the vaccine out as quickly as possible," he said.

The Texas Department of State Health Services reports 141 H1N1 related deaths throughout the state.  Ten of those were in East Texas.   The CDC now estimates 98,000 people across the country have been hospitalized.

Many cases went unreported or under-reported because of a lack of resources.

"We know that 99 percent of cases of Influenza A are H1N1, and as a result of that, we haven't been testing everybody," said Dr. Jonathan MacClements, the Smith County Health Authority.

MacClements said the nature of the virus has not changed, and new numbers don't change how business is done.

"Our patients will still receive the same treatments, be diagnosed in the same way, and vaccinated in the same way."

Shawn Clifford, nurse epidemiologist with the Northeast Texas Public Health District, said there aren't any more ill East Texans that there were yesterday.  She said the virus has not gotten worse, but the concerns are still justified.

"I'm hoping that we've had the big peak with this, but we're going to continue to be vigilant," she said.

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