Swine Flu on the Rise in Brazos County

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COLLEGE STATION- H1N1 flu cases are on the rise in Texas. The virus has already killed several people across the state and now people are coming down with the illness in our area. Friday morning, Scott & White Hospital in College Station along with the Brazos County Health Department held a press conference to talk about the rise in flu cases.

With students going back to school after the holidays, Brazos County health officials are worried the number of people with the flu will increase.

"Our students need to be vaccinated, our students need to be aware," said Dr. Seth Sullivan with Scott & White Hospital - College Station.

To stop the virus from spreading, Dr. Sullivan is recommending those six months and older be vaccinated.

"I would encourage anyone at home who has a flu like illness; typically we're talking about fever, we're talking about cough, respiratory type symptoms to alert health care providers as soon as possible," said Sullivan.

The Centers for Disease Control says the Brazos County and the rest of the state has seen a strong spike in Type A Flu, or the 2009 H1N1 strain. It's unknown what sparks the virus, but doctors believe weather may be a factor.

"This is a very tricky virus," Sullivan said. "It's been with us a long time and has caused a lot of havoc over the years and that's how it does that."

Brazos County Health Department Registered Nurse, Julie Anderson, says 11 facilities have voluntarily reported 956 documented cases since mid-October.

"It almost seems like it went from nothing to something overnight," said Anderson.

The CDC believes 98-percent of the cases are H1N1, or swine flu, but getting vaccinated could help you fight the illness.

"If we all got vaccinated, even if your vaccine didn't work," Anderson said. "I may be able to stop the influenza because mine worked and I can't spread it to you. That's really how it works is through herd immunity, that it counts on all of us getting vaccinated."

Despite popular belief, CDC officials say you cannot get the flu from the flu shot, but your body may feel run down as a side effect. Unfortunately, even if you get a flu vaccine, there's still a chance of you getting the flu, just a different strain.