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Posted on Wed, Oct 28, 2009 : 1 p.m.

What's Going Around: It's all swine flu, all the time

By Jen Eyer


Emily Gafford, Dexter, holds her 13-month-old son Samuel, who begins to cry after being injected with the H1N1 flu vaccine by Washtenaw County Immunization Coordinator Judy Gwozdek at the Washtenaw Intermediate School District building on Wagner Road in Scio Township, Tuesday, Oct. 27.

Lon Horwedel |

In our weekly phone call, Jan Briggson, practice manager for Child Health Associates in Ann Arbor, said last week — for the first time ever — she got e-mails from all the local hospitals saying their pediatric units were at capacity.

They're full of kids sick with swine flu, though that doesn't mean the illness is more severe than seasonal flu — it's not, Briggson said. It's just that so many kids are getting it, the volume of severe illness has risen correspondingly.

"Even when we have seasonal flu, not this many kids get it," Briggson said. "There is usually some immunity because it's a strain that has been around for a while. But this is a new strain, so no one has immunity unless you happened to get it last spring or got the vaccine."

Call volumes are still extremely high at CHA. Last week they hit an all-time high of 5,800 calls, up from a typical 3,800 to 4,500 in a normal flu season.

This week, CHA has already received 3,200 calls, and 90 percent of the children being seen in the office have flu-like symptoms.

However, Briggson said family practices within IHA are reporting that they're not seeing many adults with novel H1N1 flu.

"The biggest challenge is just that resources are running out — staff, doctors, Tamiflu," she said.

Although there's no sign at CHA of flu activity slowing yet, Briggson said call volumes at some of the IHA offices in western Wayne have decreased since Monday.

"What's Going Around" is a weekly series looking at what illnesses are circulating among kids in the community. Jen Eyer is on the Community Team at She can be reached at 734-623-2577 or, or you can visit her at 301 East Liberty.