Health departments, hospitals and clinics around the state were swamped this year as the H1N1 influenza raced across the country.


Health departments, hospitals and clinics around the state were swamped this year as the H1N1 influenza raced across the country.

A total of 23 people have died from the swine flu in Kansas. None of those have been in Harvey County.

The latest fatality was a 27-year-old northeast Kansas woman who had an underlying health condition that made her more susceptible to swine flu complications.

According to the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, swine flu has been reported in 91 of Kansas’ 105 counties, including Harvey County, since late April.

The vaccine for the highly contagious flu became available in October.

At that time, the Harvey County Health Department and other health departments offered the vaccine only to those most at risk: pregnant women, people ages 6 months to 24 years old, anyone who lived with or provided care for infants younger than 6 months old, any health-care worker and any people 24 to 64 years old who had a chronic health condition.

Earlier this month, the vaccine was made available to everyone.

The number of those infected with H1N1 is not available because the Kansas Department of Health and Environment stopped requiring testing for H1N1 when masses of patients flooded hospitals and clinics with various types of flus.

At one point, the flu was spreading so rapidly in Harvey County that Newton Medical Center banned children from visiting to help curb the spread of the influenza. Some schools in the state closed for several days because so many kids were sick.

There is no cost to get the H1N1 vaccine from the Harvey County Health Department. The charge for the seasonal flu vaccine is $25 payable by cash or credit card or application to your health insurance company if they pay for vaccines.

For information on clinics, visit the Harvey County Health Department section at www.harveycounty.com.