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Drug-Resistant H1N1 Strain Appears In VA; Doctors Say Vaccine Still Effective

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H1N1 vaccine.
Jonathan Wilson
H1N1 vaccine.

By Jonathan Wilson

Drug resistant cases of the H1N1 flu virus have cropped up in Virginia, but doctors say it's still important to get vaccinated.

Dr. Karen Remley is Virginia's Health Director. She says the two cases of Tamiflu-resistant H1N1 occurred in individuals who were already seriously sick with other illnesses, and taking antiviral medication as a preventative measure.

"That is the pattern that the CDC appears to be seeing: that people who are severely immuno-compromised, at high-risk to be infected, on Tamiflu prophylactically, run a high risk of developing resistance," says Remley.

Doctors at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the vaccine should still work well on the new strains of the virus. And Remley says vaccine supplies are expected to increase dramatically in the coming weeks.

Dr. Peter Troell, with the Fairfax County health department, says that's good news. He says almost all the county's clinics so far have been crowded. "We've had consistently good response from the community in terms of demand for the vaccine," says Troell.

Next week, he says clinics will be offered later in the day to target school age children. Troell says the county should be able to dole out twice as many doses as it did this week.

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