Health officials worry H1N1 may be here to stay - Metro US

Health officials worry H1N1 may be here to stay

Swine flu could keep coming back for “years to decades” and officials acknowledged yesterday they are looking at the possibility of mass-immunizations becoming an annual event.

While the second wave of swine flu winds down, officials expect it to return as one of the main seasonal flus.

“That’s the likely scenario that’s going to happen. It’s not just going to go away,” said Dr. Robert Strang, chief medical officer of Nova Scotia.

“This is now, in all likelihood, going to become one of the predominant strains.”

That has officials on a national level considering if universal vaccination drives need to happen every year. Strang said it’s too early to know how the H1N1 virus will develop and whether it will become more or less dangerous.

But he said universal drives would come with a heavy cost.

“It’s been an extraordinary effort on the part of public health over the last eight weeks and we basically deferred almost all other public health work. We couldn’t do that on an annual basis,” he said.

More from our Sister Sites