WDAY: The News Leader

Published August 11, 2010, 11:46 AM

World Health Organization downgrades H1N1 virus from a pandemic

(WDAY TV) - The World Health Organization is now saying the H1N1 pandemic is gone. About a year ago, we started hearing about a new strain of the seasonal flu, H1N1. It grew into a pandemic, prompting people to get vaccinated, but what should we expect for this year's flu season?

Just because the H1N1 pandemic is over doesn't mean the virus is gone. As we head in to flu season, Fargo Cass Public Health workers say it's still important for people to maintain good practices like covering their cough and washing their hands often.

Most people are now immune to H1N1, that's what downgrades the virus from a pandemic. H1N1 is still one form of the seasonal flu and health workers say people will still be able to catch it, so they should still be vaccinated.

They say one reason the pandemic remained under control was because people stayed home if they were sick, washed their hands and cover their coughs. They say sometimes, it can be hard to get people to understand the seriousness of these types of viruses.

β€œIt's estimated that many people die from it, especially those with health problems. And we forget that it is a serious infection, and when it's an H1N1 pandemic, everyone is more alert and wants to get a vaccine.”

Fargo Cass Public Health does have reserve doses of the H1N1 vaccine, but those are recommended for people traveling out of the country. The new shipments of the doses should be here some time in September of October. Both the injected and nasal vaccine will be available this fall.