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T he news reports about the H1N1 influenza pandemic (popularly known as "swine flu") keep coming, but one aspect of the story is constant: although the majority of the cases are mild, the H1N1 influenza virus is occasionally a killer.
This morning's news report is that the first doses of the vaccine should be available in early October, rather than mid-October. Last week, it was that the H1N1 vaccine probably will only need a single dose to be effective (previously, it had been surmised that perhaps two separate doses of H1N1 might be needed to protect against the virus). And we hear of colleges with thousands of students isolated or quarantined because they all have symptoms consistent with H1N1 flu. But most concerning is the reports that over 3,000 people have died from swine flu since the new virus became apparent in Mexico in April.
The deaths are frequently described as occurring in people with underlying diseases, but occasionally in healthy young adults. The underlyin...
The swine flu (H1N1 influenza virus) is still spreading, but there's no need to panic. This flu does not appear to be as virulent (deadly) as the flu virus of 1918 that killed about 50 million people worldwide, or the flu of 1957 that killed 70,000 people in the U.S.
I'm not saying this virus is a wimp, because there have been several deaths in Mexico and the second American, a Texas woman, has succumbed to the illness .
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention along with state and local health departments have been outstanding in providing day-to-day updates about the swine flu.
Here are some questions that parents and patients in my office are asking:
Will the flu shot I had last fall protect me from getting the swine flu? Answer: No. The flu vaccine given in the fall, and for the last several years, protected against human flu virus, based on the previous year's research. The swine flu is a different kind of virus that is foreign to our immune system (which may explain why it ...
To be unaware of the impact of the flu on communities around the nation your head would have to be buried in the sand. Flu related hospitalizations and deaths are on the rise. Some reports state that vaccinations for this flu season have been lower compared to previous years. Since the H1N1 swine flu pandemic of 2009, flu vaccination enthusiasm seems to have waned. The shortage of flu vaccine during that time period escalated the drive to get vaccinated. Of course, we have not seen this until recent days. Availability of flu vaccine this past fall was probably as high as it’s ever been. Many corner pharmacies started their flu campaign before the end of summer. So what is it about this year?
I don’t have an evidence based opinion but I think as we get further away from the H1N1 scare from a few years ago, concern about serious flu illness decreases. Some adult patients, and relatives of mine, have told me they don’t get flu shots because they have never had th...
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