Swine flu season not over, U.S. health officials warn

WASHINGTON Mon Mar 29, 2010 5:59pm EDT

An H1N1 flu vaccine inoculation is given at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania October 28, 2009. REUTERS/Brad Bower

An H1N1 flu vaccine inoculation is given at the Geisinger Medical Center in Danville, Pennsylvania October 28, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Brad Bower

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - While swine flu has waned across much of the United States, the southeast is reporting an increase in cases of the H1N1 virus, U.S. health officials said on Monday.

"The flu season is not over yet ... H1N1 has remained persistent in the southeast and now those states are experiencing more local and regional activity," U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin told reporters in a conference call.

U.S. health officials said it was not clear why there were more swine flu cases in some regions and warned that many people were still vulnerable because they had not been immunized.

Alabama, South Carolina and Georgia have been reporting "regional disease" -- one step below "widespread disease," Dr. Anne Schuchat of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on the call. She said the situation in Georgia was unique.

"Recently, Georgia has seen more laboratory confirmed influenza hospitalizations each week than they've seen at any time since October," Schuchat said.

"They've had more than 40 hospitalizations in this past week, and for the third week in a row, Georgia had more hospitalizations than any other state in the country from laboratory-confirmed H1N1 influenza," Schuchat said.

Most of the people affected were adults with chronic health conditions and people who had not been immunized, Schuchat said. Georgia was among the states with the lowest rate of vaccinations, she said.

Benjamin again urged people to get immunized and said that the vaccine was in plentiful supply.

The U.S. supply of H1N1 vaccine reached 124 million doses last week, Benjamin said.

Swine flu has killed an estimated 12,000 Americans and put more than 265,000 into the hospital, according to CDC. It has largely displaced seasonal flu strains in the current flu season. Seasonal flu kills about 36,000 people in the United States each year and puts 200,000 in the hospital.

Swine flu emerged a year ago in the United States and Mexico and spread around the world in just six weeks, killing thousands of people. It hit children and young adults especially hard.

Although H1N1 activity has declined in the Americas and Europe, the World Health Organization says it is still technically causing a pandemic.

(Editing by Eric Beech)

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Comments (6)
Seems like they’re still trying to get rid of those vaccines!


Mar 29, 2010 5:04pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
Philip123 wrote:
Will you please just shut up already, it is becoming like a where’s Waldo game to read the press on H1N1. In case you haven’t noticed yet, it is nearly Spring, flu epidemics don’t occur in Spring so you can quit with the fear mongering as well. As almost everyone with a firing brain cell has heard, seasonal variation in vitamin D levels is now believed to play a significant role in increased susceptiblity to viral infection. Safe, easy and cheap, correction of vitamin D deficiency has been shown in studies to provide resistance to influenza as well as provide other benefits.

Where is the evidence, the published studies, that H1N1 vaccine protects against swine flu? Without this it is no better than superstition to recommend it, despite hiding behind some penumbra of it being the scientific and/or well thought out approach to prevention. Even the many and varied seasonal flu vaccines are approved by FDA only from the surrogate marker of induced immune response, which is of course different than providing evidence for protection from disease, evidence which we have with vitamin D repletion. And of course there couldn’t be toxicity from getting a dose of preservative designed to kill micro-organisms injected into your arm from multi-dose vials, how unscientific and absurd a postion.

One last question, as the clinical picture of H1N1 infection can not be reliably distinguished from endemic seasonal flu, is there an FDA approved diagnostic test for H1N1 flu?


Mar 29, 2010 8:43pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
4gnus wrote:
First, to address this comment:
“flu epidemics don’t occur in Spring so you can quit with the fear mongering as well”

The pandemic Flu strain was first detected in march last year and persisted throughout the entire summer, or did you already forget that.

Mar 30, 2010 11:12am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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