Is H1N1 flu (swine flu) still around?

Answers from James M. Steckelberg, M.D.

Yes. Even though the 2009 pandemic is over, the H1N1 flu (swine flu) virus is still around. In any given flu season, several different types of flu viruses may be making people sick. Last year, nearly all the flu cases were caused by H1N1 flu (swine flu).

Flu viruses mutate quickly, and pandemics occur when a strain evolves into something very different from viruses we've been exposed to in the past. It's not likely that the 2009 H1N1 flu (swine flu) will cause a pandemic this year because so many people have been exposed to it — either through illness or vaccination.

Each year's flu vaccine protects against several different strains of flu virus. H1N1 flu (swine flu) is included in the protection offered in this year's flu vaccine. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends flu vaccination for everyone six months of age or older.

Dec. 03, 2010