DUBUQUE, Iowa - Getting a flu shot this year is paying off for patients and hospitals. Doctors say they're seeing fewer flu cases this year.
And most of the ones they are seeing are the H1N1 strain.
The Centers for Disease Control said that during the 2009 pandemic, the H1N1 affected as many as 55 million Americans.
This year's flu shot covers the H1N1 strain, and the number of flu cases in general is down significantly.
In the fall of 2009, President Obama declared a national emergency as the illness spread across the country.The CDC says the pandemic killed at least 12,000 people.
"It started in April in California and went through Arizona and then up through Texas in into the Midwest. It was really interesting how it migrated across," said Gail Gates, Mercy Medical Center's Coordinator of Employee Health.
Once the 2009 pandemic reached Iowa, people rushed to their doctor's office to prevent getting sick.
"Everyone panicked and got vaccinated and now those anti-bodies are inside of us. Since '09, then '10, '11, '12, '13 we've had H1N1 protection," Gates said.
Gates said this season's predominate flu strain is the same as the 2009 H1N1. She said because so many people are now protected, state-wide flu numbers are down and it's not too late to help keep it that way.
"If it's still lingering around and H1N1 is predominate, you're going to be protected if you get vaccinated now," Gates said.