The hysteria surrounding the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, seems to have died down some since the initial cases were reported earlier this spring.

The hysteria surrounding the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, seems to have died down some since the initial cases were reported earlier this spring.
The virus is no longer the major topic of conversation on television news and newspapers' front pages are being reserved for other issues. But while the attention given to the virus may have lightened, the number of people being affected by the "novel" virus is not.
"The H1N1 is not going away, despite what you may have heard," Dr. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for Science and Public Health programs for the Centers for Disease Control and prevention, said recently. "This novel H1N1 virus is still circulating in the United States. People are continuing to get sick, to get hospitalized, and unfortunately, to die."
According to the CDC, nearly 9,000 cases of H1N1 have been reported in the U.S., including 79 in Kansas. The Kansas Department of Health and Environment reported recently that of the 79 cases in 11 Kansas counties — this past week new cases were identified in Geary, Reno, Riley, Saline and Sedgwick counties — 46 involve children and 33 involve adults. However, the KDHE also stated that the number of cases could be much higher.
“While KDHE continues to report the number of confirmed cases, these case counts underestimate the actual number of infections,” said Dr. Jason Eberhart-Phillips, state health officer and director of health. “Not everyone who is infected seeks care, and not everyone who seeks care is providing a specimen for testing."
Janis Goedeke, Crawford County health officer, said while general public attention being paid to H1N1 seems to have decreased, the attention from the medical community has done just the opposite — and for good reason.
"We are still watching this very, very closely," she said. "We are still doing the active surveillance for the H1N1. What I'm hearing is that they think it has peaked and that it will probably be here throughout the summer. But we also think it will probably come back stronger this fall.
"I don't anticipate that it's going to go away," she said. "I don't have that crystal ball, of course, but this is something we are certainly going to keep a very keen eye on."
Earlier this month, the Crawford County Health Department announced a new campaign to raise awareness about H1N1. The "H1N1: Don't B1" program is still in the planning stages, but Goedeke said it should start gaining speed this summer.
"It should be taking off pretty much in late June or early July," she said. "People will start hearing more about it around then."
During a press briefing on May 28, the Schuchat said the CDC and the World Health Organization are designing several plans to combat the virus. The CDC recently reported that an H1N1 vaccine may be ready by October.
"At this point, we really need to plan for multiple contingencies," Schuchat said last week. "I really don't know what's going to happen. Certainly, from what I've been seeing here in the U.S., the virus can spread easily and cause disease in people."
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Kansas cases
* Dickinson County – Two cases involving adults
* Ford County – One case involving a child
* Geary County – 18 cases total involving eight adults and 10 children
* Gove County – One case involving an adult
* Johnson County – 11 cases total involving four adults and seven children
* Ottawa County – One case involving a child
* Reno County – One case involving an adult
* Riley County – 23 cases total involving 15 adults and eight children
* Saline County – Seven cases total involving one adult and six children
* Sedgwick County – Two cases involving children
 * Wyandotte County – 12 cases total involving one adult and 11 children