During testimony before a Congressional committee today, the U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Servics was asked how serious was the current H1N1 swine flu epidemic. To answer and put the problem in perspective, she explained that there are typically 36,000 deaths per year in the U.S. from the seasonal flu. This is despite the fact that most of us have at least some immunity from the seasonal flu - and a vaccine is offered every year for the seasonal. From the seasonal flu, most deaths are among the elderly or those with immune diseases such as AIDS. As such, she explained that we should probably expect as a minimum a similar number of 36,000 deaths this year from the H1N1 swine flu. This is especially the case since the infection rate for the swine flu seems to be higher than for the seasonal flu. The difference is that with the swine flu, the vast majority of deaths are expected to be among school age children. Since the population has no prior immunity to the H1N1 swine flu, however, it is reasonable to expect that the death rate for it will be even higher than for the typical seasonal flu. Also, the H1N1 swine flu is clearly sweeping through college campuses at a time when it will be at least a month before the vaccine for it can start to be administered.
Tuesday, September 15, 2009
During a typical flu season, approximately 200,000 Americans are hospitalized for treatment of the flu. As we enter this year's flu season, however, the White House has predicted that as many as 1.8 million Americans might be hospitalized during the peak of the swine flu outbreak this fall and winter. Of this 1.8 million, as many as 300,000 Americans might require intensive care for treatment of the H1N1 swine flu. If this scenario occurs, it is predicted that this would overwhelm and swamp the capacity of U.S. hospitals, using up 100 percent of hospital bed capacity. Health officials are currently looking at contingencies to deal with this potential severe shortage of hospital bed capacity. Of concern is the fact that the H1N1 swine flu is predicted to affect - and in fact is already affecting - a much greater portion of the population than that which is normally afflicted with the typical seasonal flu. On the positive side, Kathleen Sebelius, U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, reported that just today the FDA approved the vaccine for the H1N1 swine flu, allowing the government to proceed forward with its manufacturer and distribution. The vaccine is expected to be available in mid-October and potentially 7 to 10 days earlier for those individuals at the highest risk for the H1N1 swine flu. Distribution of the swine flu vaccine will be determined by plans developed by each of the state health departments.
Monday, September 14, 2009
The CDC reports that there have been 593 deaths thus far in the United States from the H1N1 swine flue epdemic. This is second only to Brazil which reports 657 deaths thus far from the H1N1 swine flu.
Posted by Rick Hopper at 9:23 PM
In what is the largeest H1N1 swine flu outbreak todate on a college campus, Washington State University reports some 2,500 students has probably having come down with the H1N1 swine flu.
Posted by Rick Hopper at 9:17 PM
According to the Dothan Eagle in Dothan, Alabama, 18 year old Andrew Salter, a student at Troy University, died on Friday, September 11, 2009 at Southeast Alabama Medical Center from complications possibly related to the H1N1 swine flu. H was diagnosed as having the flu on September 3 and was treated with Tamiflu. After getting better, however, he developed pneumonia and was admitted to the hospital on Monday, September 7th. As of August 19, 2009 there are 217 suspected cases of the swine flu in Houston County and 1,587 statewide in Alabama.
Posted by Rick Hopper at 9:02 PM
A University of Maryland official has confirmed that suspected cases of the H1N1 swine flu among students have increased from 64 to 172.
Posted by Rick Hopper at 8:52 PM
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
According to the Washington Post, more than half of the nation's colleges and universities are reporting cases of the H1N1 swine flu. In the first week of classes alone, more than 1,600 cases of the H1N1 swine flu have been reported on the nation's college and university campuses.
Tuesday, September 1, 2009
TV personality and host Rachel Maddow announced that she has recently recovered from a bout of the swine flu. Also recently recovered from the swine flu is the President of the country of Costa Rica while the President of the country of Columbia announced that he has recently contracted the swine flu after visiting Argentina for a meeting of South American leaders.
Posted by Rick Hopper at 7:04 PM