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Swine flu activity in the Southeast raises fears of a third wave of pandemic

March 29, 2010 | 11:46 am

PigContinuing activity of pandemic H1N1 influenza in the Southeast, particularly in Georgia, is raising fears of a third wave of swine flu, federal officials said Monday. They urged people to continue getting vaccinated as a preventive measure in case a new outbreak occurs.

Although swine flu activity is still low in most of the country, flu-related hospitalizations in Georgia have, since the beginning of February, been higher than they were last October at the height of the second wave of swine flu, said Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, in a telephone news conference. A CDC team was sent March 6 to assist state officials investigating the outbreak, but they have so far found nothing unusual related to the outbreak or the virus itself. "There is no evidence the virus has changed in Georgia," she said. Alabama and South Carolina are also reporting regional activity of the virus, and some unusual activity has also been noted in Hawaii and New Mexico.

The Southeast is where the second wave of the pandemic began last fall, but experts generally attributed that to the earlier start of school in the region.

Swine flu has so far infected about 60 million Americans, with 265,000 hospitalized and about 12,000 dead. Although a normal flu season is usually associated with nearly three times that number of deaths, officials are concerned about the ages of victims. Seasonal flu normally kills mostly the elderly, but swine flu is killing adults under the age of 65, particularly those who have underlying health conditions or who are pregnant. The death rate among adults under 65 "is five times higher than what we typically see with seasonal flu," Schuchat said.

At least 35 million doses of swine flu vaccine are currently available and Schuchat and Surgeon General Dr. Regina Benjamin urged everyone--but especially those with underlying health issues--to get vaccinated.

-- Thomas H. Maugh II

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Comments (2)

Hey mainstream media, dont you idiots understand the people dont buy into your pandemic scare tactics you're all trying to use? No one was scared of a seasonal flu the first time around, tell me why the hell would I be scared of swine flu a 3rd time around. When I had h1n1 I was sick for about 5 days, stayed in bed and took my vitamin C's. And surprise, Im still alive.. but for some of those who had taken the poison filled vaccine's that are supposedly somehow supposed to get us feeling better? 'Yeah, lets go inject mercury into our bodies just because the media tells us to, everythings going to be okay, the news said so so it has to be true.' Grow up and start covering news that actually matters ya boguts

Will you please just shut up already about H1N1, it is becoming like a where's Waldo game to read the press on swine flu. 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 is learning, seasonal variation in vitamin D levels is now believed to play a significant role in increased susceptibility 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?



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