H1N1 virus sweeps across Illinois

By WEEK Producer

January 9, 2014 Updated Jan 9, 2014 at 9:19 PM CDT

EAST PEORIA, Ill. -- It's the one gift nobody ever wants to get.

"Full blown flu. The respiratory flu."

And it's spreading nationwide. Within weeks the flu has gone from regional to widespread in Illinois.

"That means that illness is being reported in all regions of the state," said Sarah Fenton, Tazewell County Health Department.

It's H1N1, also known at swine flu, and the group of people most affected by this flu is a group you wouldn't expect.

"Middle-age, young adults and children are going to be affected with that. Elderly people have a bit of a residual immunity. They were exposed to these viruses at a younger age so they have a residual immunity and are less affected," said Fenton.

That's exactly why Jennifer Tooley and her son are here at Walgreen's.

"I'm here to get a flu shot for him. My daughter and I have already had it," said Jennifer Tooley, mother.

And her son had it too. He's trying not to get it again.

"It was agonizing because I knew finals were coming up," Joseph Tooley, High school student.

"He was pretty miserable, he missed over a whole week of school with a high fever, his fever was about 103.9," said Tooley.

He's not alone. The flu is attacking his whole school.

"It's getting passed on like crazy," said Joseph Tooley.

"It worries me a lot because the flu is a lot more dramatic that it used to be, and kids are getting a lot sicker than they used to. It's not just the elderly anymore," said Tooley.

But there are ways to fight it, and getting the flu shot is your best bet.

"There is a good match between the virus circulating and the strand in the vaccine. So the vaccine is effective this year," said Fenton.

News that has Jennifer feeling good.

"Very relieved, because these past three week we were worried he was going to get it again," said Tooley.

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