Saturday, November 14, 2009

New CDC Estimates on Pandemic H1N1 in U.S

Via -

About 22 million Americans have become ill with pandemic H1N1 influenza in the past six months and 3,900 have died, according to new estimates by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The number of pediatric deaths -- about 540 -- is four times as high as the number that physicians, hospitals and health departments had reported to the public health agency in Atlanta.

The new estimates, drawn from detailed surveillance and record-checking in 10 states, sketch the most detailed picture by far of the national toll from the new flu strain that emerged in California and Mexico in April.

"We feel we're finally able to update the public on how big a toll this virus is having so far," Anne Schuchat, a CDC physician helping to run the federal government's pandemic response, said Thursday. "I am expecting all these numbers, unfortunately, to continue to rise."

The total number of people who have been hospitalized is 98,000, with 36,000 of them age 17 and younger. The vast majority of deaths -- about 2,920 -- have been in people age 18 to 64.

In an average flu season, the seasonal virus contributes to the deaths of about 36,000 people -- 90 percent of whom are 65 or older. Many are close to death, with flu being only one factor leading to their demise. That is not the case with H1N1's victims, most of whom are much younger, and about 20 to 30 percent of whom were healthy before contracting the virus.


Why is being old a good defense against the pandemic H1N1?

Experts have stated that heterosubtypic (aka cross-protective) immunity created by previous exposure to seasonal H1N1 strains most likely plays an important role in this defense. However, it is important to remember that the inactivated seasonal influenza vaccine, containing H1N1 and H3N2 strains, will not protect you against the 2009 H1N1 virus - because they do not induce heterosubtypic immunity.

No comments:

Post a Comment