H1N1 Swine Flu Update As Of November 16, 2009 --This past week a Washington, D.C. television station aired the story of a student in Northern Virgina who came down with Guillame-Barre Syndrome a day after receiving both the H1N1 swine flu and seasonal flu vaccines. The day after receiving the vaccines, he developed severe muscle twitches and spasms and became partially paralyzed. While he is recovering, he has to use a walker to enable him to walk until he recovers more fully. Commenting on the story in a television interview, the Director of the National Institutes of Health confirmed that there have been 5 cases thus far in the U.S. of individuals developing Guillame-Barre Syndrome after receiving the H1N1 swine flu vaccine. He explained, however, that the government has never stated that the H1N1 swine flu vaccine was totally safe. Instead, he explained that it is a matter of balancing risks - and that the risk of death for young people and high-risk individuals from contracting the H1N1 swine flu is much greater than the risk of any adverse reaction or complication from the vaccine. To support his argument, European countries have reported a doubling of the number of pediatric deaths frm the H1N1 swine flu in just 4 days while the number of pediatric deaths from the H1N1 swine flu in the United States has risen from 144 a week ago to 540 - or over a three-fold increase in just a week. To put such a high number of pediatric deaths from the H1N1 swine flu in perspective, in a normal flu season there are only a total of 80 of pediatric deaths during an entire flu season -- yet here the flu season has just begun and there is already 540 pediatric deaths from the H1N1 swine flu. Pediatric deaths are defined as deaths of young people 18 years and younger. During a typical flu season, 90 percent of the individuals seeking medical treatment are age 65 or older. With the current H1N1 swine flu pandemic, however, 90 percent of the individuals seeking medical treatment are under the age of 65. This makes the H1N1 swine flu more like the 1918 flu pandemic than seasonal flu outbreaks. Thus far, health officials estimate that 22 million Americans have contracted the H1N1 swine flu. Of this number, it is estimated that 8 million have been young people 18 years or younger, with 36,000 of these young people requiring hospitalization and 540 dying. It is for this reason, the Director of the National Institutes of Health argues, that the benefits of receiving the H1N1 swine flu vaccine and being protected greatly outweigh the risks of receiving the vaccine.