Tuesday, May 5, 2009

CDC Has Now Confirmed 279 Cases of Swine Flu in 36 States

The CDC has reported that there are now 279 cases of swine flu in 36 cases. Meanwhile, the WHO has moved its pandemic alert to level 6. New York now has 73 confirmed cases, Texas 41, California 30, Delaware 20, Arizona 17, and South Carolina 15 - with these being the states with the most confirmed cases. Idaho has joined the list of states reporting confirmed cases. More schools have closed because of the swine flu, while other schools have remained open despite confirmed cases. As an example, George Washngton University in Washington, D.C. now has 4 students with confirmed cases of the swine flu, yet has remained open. Many schools are reluctant to close because of AP exams and state standard of learning tests that are given at this time of year. It continues to almost be impossible to find face masks in drug stores. The good news is that there is still only one reported death in the United States from the swine flu. The bad news is that, just as in Mexico, the swine flu seems to hit healthy young teens and young adults the hardest. This is similar to the 1918 flu pandemic. What worries health officials is that in the U.S., the swine flu will potentially come back in the fall and cause the most deaths. This is the pattern that the 1918 flu outbreak took. Also, the swine flu is attacking at a time which is not normally the flu season. Finally, of concern is the lack of a vaccine to protect people from the outbreak. This is of concern because, even with a normal flu season where many people are protected by a vaccine, there are still typically 200,000 plus hospitalizations and approximately 35,000 deaths. People that have not had the flu often under-estimate how significant of a disease it is, thinking it is like a cold or a 24 hour stomach virus. But the full-blown flu can be a devastating illness for many people and even the normal flu is a significant cause of deaths in the U.S. every year.