Saturday, October 24, 2009
63 Percent of U.S. Population Is Predicted to Become Infected With H1N1 Swine Flu
A recent study by Purdue University has predicted that 63 percent of the U.S. population will become infected with the H1N1 swine flu. Of this amount, 40 percent are predicted to become ill. This translates into an estimated 25 percent of the U.S. population who are predicted to become ill with the H1N1 swine flu. Already, the number of people sick with the H1N1 swine flu is greater than the normal peak for a typical flu season. This is despite that the normal peak for flu cases for a normal season is in January, and it is only October and we already have a greater number of H1N1 swine flu cases than during the peak of a typical flu season. This has caught health officials by surprise as they had not expected this many cases of the H1N1 swine flu this early in the flu season. Also of concern is the fact that there are currently available significantly less amounts of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine than had been expected to be available. As a result, some health officials are predicting that there could be as many as 90,000 deaths in the U.S. from the H1N1 swine flu. This contrasts with a normal flu season where there are typically 36,000 deaths in the U.S. from the flu. Also of concern is the fact that most deaths from the normal strain of flu are among the elderly. With the current epidemic of the H1N1 swine flu, however, the greatest number of hospitalizations and deaths have been among school-aged children and pregnant women. For this reason, the young, pregnant women and all other individuals at high risk for the H1N1 swine flu are urged to get vaccinated as soon as supplies of the vaccination become available. For some reason as yet to be understood, some regions of the country are being particularly hit hard with the H1N1 swine flu pandemic and are having to close schools because of the high rate of illness. Only a hundred miles away, however, another city might be only experiencing mild rates of illness. Also, some school systems and local health agencies have already vaccinated a large number of people while other school systems and local health agencies had not planned on ordering a significant amount of vaccinations this early in the flu season. As a consequence, the severity of the H1N1 swine flu is expected to continue to vary significantly from one area to another. Increasingly, however, more and more people know someone who has been sick with the swine flu - or have become sick themselves. As an example, AOL's reporter for the H1N1 swine flu recently reported that he and his children have all come down with the H1N1 swine flu while it is believed that his wife had been sick with the H1N1 swine flu. As another example, my mother who is a nurse as a co-worker who had a child that had to be hospitalized with what is believed to have been the H1N1 swine flu. One really begins to appreciate how many people are ill with the H1N1 swine flu when one goes to a hospital or one's doctor's office and one sees all the individuals there ill with the flu - and one is told first-hand stories of how many sick people the doctors and hospitals are currently treating with the H1N1 flu. Some doctors are reporting seeing as many as 40 or more patients a day ill with the flu.