H1N1 flu cases rise, vaccine difficult to find

    Health Department officials say the amount of H1N1 cases across the state has increased exponentially over the past few weeks, but vaccines are still trickling into Pennsylvania.

    Health Department officials say the amount of H1N1 cases across the state has increased exponentially over the past few weeks, but vaccines are still trickling into Pennsylvania.

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    [audio: 091029sdswine.mp3]

    Since early September, the number of Pennsylvanians diagnosed with influenza has gone from a few hundred to just under 4,000. That rate has skyrocketed in the past two weeks, especially.

    Acting Physician General Dr. Stephen Ostroff says officials expected the number to go up in the fall, but hes especially surprised at how quickly its risen. Ostroff says the majority of the cases are school-aged children and teenagers.

    Ostroff: This continues to be very much a wave of influenza that affects the very young. About 70% to 75% of all of the cases we’ve been seeing are in individuals between the ages of 5 and 24 years of age.

    Ostroff says to date, Pennsylvania officials have distributed around 820,000 vaccines. The commonwealth is expected to receive a few 100,000 doses a week over the coming months.

    Those will be distributed to priority cases, though at that rate, the Health Department wont be able to meet the requested amount of 7,000,000 doses until early winter.

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