Flu Visits Falling Doctors Say

The steady stream of the sick and the suffering has slowed to a trickle at Memorial Hospital in Gulfport.

A sign Emergency Room Physician Dr. Thomas Graves believes means the beginning of the end to the 2005 cold and flu season.

"I think I had my first positive flu test probably 6 or 7 weeks ago and about a week or two ago in the community I think there was the peak numbers," says Graves. "It's fallen off a little bit now as far as positive flu tests."

That's welcomed news for people like David Poulos who's weathered a tough winter with employees of his auto repair business staying home sick.

"It hit pretty hard mainly because the employees would come in with a little cold or something and next thing you know they'd infected another employee," says Poulos.

And Poulos says that can put a small businesses like his in a real bind.

"It puts a real bad hurting on a business when you've got 3 out of 15 employees that's sick."

But despite vaccine shortages and the number of work and school hours lost, Dr Graves says this flu season has actually been a light one.

He worries however that a much worse outbreak is overdue.

"We're setting ducks for another world wide pandemic, with 20 to 30 million people dead," warns Graves.

And he believes that danger lies just over the horizon.

"The bird flu that in Asia is worrisome because almost all of the big worldwide pandemics start in the far east. Bird flu, if it gets into humans could cause a bad thing."

Dr. Graves says vaccines remain our best bet at containing common flu strains, or other more deadly types that so far remain just a threat.