Tuesday, December 8, 2009
Revised Estimates for H1N1 Swine Flu Deaths
While all types of the flu are notoriously unpredictable, a new study conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health for the federal government indicates that the number of deaths from the current H1N1 swine flu pandemic are likely to be lower than previously predicted. With there currently being over 80 million doses of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine distributed thus far in the U.S., it appears that the worst of the current pandemic might now be past us. This is backed up by recent statistics that show a decrease in hospitalizations from the H1N1 swine flu virus. As a consequence, researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health are predicting that the number of deaths in the U.S. from the H1N1 swine flu for the year will range anywhere from 6,000 to 45,000, with the predicted number of deaths likely being in the 10,000-15,000 range. This compares with the previous estimate of 30,000-90,000 deaths in the U.S. for the current H1N1 swine flu pandemic, 34,000 deaths from the 1967-68 flu epidemic, 70,000 deaths from the 1957-58 flu epidemic, and 500,000-750,000 deaths from the 1917 flu pandemic. Other experts caution, however, that in past flu epidemics, there has typically been a late-winter second wave. If this were to occur with the current pandemic, then death rates could be higher. For this reason, all health experts encourage individuals to get vaccinated for the H1N1 swine flu if they have not already done so. Health experts also caution that the current strain of the H1N1 swine flu could still mutate and become more deadly. Finally, even if the overall death rate for the current H1N1 swine flu pandemic is lower than previously predicted, health experts point out that it has nevertheless had an exceptionally higher percentage among young people and pregnant women. For this reason, the H1N1 swine flu pandemic continues to be a continuing health crisis.
Posted by Rick Hopper at 9:15 PM