The changing colors of leaves don’t just signal the onset of fall. They’re mark the beginning of flu season in Kentucky. State health officials are urging everyone over six months of age to get vaccinated this fall. State epidemiologist Kraig Humbaugh says there is no reported case of flu yet in Kentucky. That is likely to change in the coming weeks. The H1-N1 flu pandemic a couple of years ago resulted in thousands of deaths worldwide. Humbaugh says H1-N1 is expected back this year, but flu shots offer protection against the virus.
“It was one of our predominant strains last year…it’s a type A influenza which generally has more severe affects than type B does. Our expectation is it will circulate this year again, but the good news is there’s a component in the vaccine against that particular strain,” said Humbaugh.
Humbaugh says concern over the so-called swine flu may have increased the number of people seeking vaccinations.
"In our 65 and over age category, we approach around 70 percent of the population being vaccinated in the last couple of years. We would like to see other age groups at similarly high levels or higher,” added Humbaugh.
Humbaugh says plenty of vaccine should be available this flu season. In addition to the shot, the nasal vaccine spray is an option for people who are not pregnant people and between the ages of two to 49.