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Flu Cases On The Rise As Area Awaits More Shipments Of H1N1 Vaccine

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As the area awaits more shipments of H1N1 flu vaccines, the number of cases in the region is on the rise, according to local hospitals and public health departments.

Dr. Lisa Kaplowitz, health director for the city of Alexandria, says that cases of H1N1 appear to have peaked in some places across the country--Alabama, for instance. But Kaplowitz says our region isn't so lucky.

"You really only know when the peak is when you see a downswing in cases," she says. "We haven't been in that situation yet in Northern Virginia or the national capital region," said Kaplowitz.

Many hospitals in Northern Virginia report emergency rooms are busier than normal. At the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, trips to the ER are up 20 percent compared to last October.

Some say part of the challenge with vaccine production delays will be keeping the public interested in getting immunized. Dr. David Ascher, chairman of pediatrics at Inova Fairfax Hospital for Children, says some doctors are losing patience. "With the virus circulating in the community, we know that it's a race against time," said Ascher. "That's where the frustration is."

Ascher says the number of children at his hospital showing flu symptoms has quadrupled in the past two weeks.

Jonathan Wilson reports...

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