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One in four Californians could be affected by swine flu, state health chief says

California's state health officer said today that one in four Californians might be affected by swine flu this fall.

Dr. Mark Horton made the prediction in a letter to Californians released today by the California Department of Public Health. "All of us must prepare for the disruptions the novel H1N1 influenza virus may have on our daily lives," Horton said in the letter.

H1N1 Horton's letter is the latest warning to be issued by public health officials about H1N1, commonly known as swine flu.

Last week, top national and local health officials warned that employers should brace for worker absences and cautioned the public that as many as three shots this season may be needed to protect against the H1N1 strain and seasonal flu.

California health officials said the combination of H1N1 and the regular flu season could strain the state's healthcare system. Emergency rooms are often filled to capacity during bad flu seasons, but the addition of H1N1 could make the situation even worse. Hospitals are already looking at creating alternate care sites to handle flu patients and plan a public education campaign imploring those with mild flu symptoms to avoid ERs.

"One thing we know is that this will be a rapidly changing situation.... We’re really not going to understand the extent or nature of the pandemic until we’re in the middle of it," said Dr. Jim Leo, associate chief medical officer at Long Beach Memorial Medical Center.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is recommending that the most at-risk populations receive the H1N1 vaccine first. Those populations include pregnant women, healthcare workers, parents and caregivers for children under 6 months old, people ages 6 months to 24 years, and those ages 25 through 64 with chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

Those groups constitute 159 million people in the United States -- more than half of the population.

Once those groups have been vaccinated, U.S. health officials will recommend that people ages 25 through 64 receive H1N1 shots.

--Rong-Gong Lin II

Photo: A dose of the experimental vaccine for the H1N1 flu virus is prepared at Vanderbilt University Medical Center in Nashville, Tenn. Credit: Mark Humphrey / Associated Press

Comments () | Archives (33)

Why I did see age 65 and older in your article? Are they stronger than all others? Or they are inmmunized from you?

Where can one go and get the anti-H1N1 vaccine?
Is it still the case that one needs to take 3 vaccine ? Also, how did the agencies arrive a the conclusion that 25% of the US population? Why not 12%? Why not 47%? Finally, do the governing agencies have the resources to vaccinate the entire US population and all members residing within the US?

Are you saying senior citizens are not at risk? I thought senior citizens and children were at great risk when flu season starts.

What should we fogies (over 64) do in preparation for the presumably long wait for vaccinations? What behavior modifications do you suggest we begin immediately?

Of course, we fogies are not immuned to the "slight" of being placed last. Our new motto is "WE'RE #7!!" and we're also going to tell your parents on you :)

Thanks, Teddy. Love ya Bro,


People over 62 or so have already likely been exposed to that virus a long time ago and have antibodies to it. This is different than the normal seasonal flu. It's not been around for a long time, so younger people have no natural immunity, like older people who've been exposed in the past.

for the questions on why the elderly were not listed as high risk. the swine flu seem to affect younger people more, not the elderly (like other flus for whatever reason). that's why they excluded them from the swine flu vaccine priority list only.

People 65+ are supposed to have greater immunity due to exposure to previous flu outbreaks, thus they are lower on the priority list at this point.

...Cats...everyWHERE...please help....ah ah AH...

65+ were not listed due to the fact that people in this age bracket have already been exposed/vacanated to a simalar strain of H1N1 and will actually have a lower then normal infection rate this flu season.

This worries me!

Not surpised at all considering the millions of people come and go thru California each year. How can we control a pandemic when the population is so mobile?

In previous articles it has said that 65+ are at a lower risk for this type of the flu due to a similar strain that had gone around during that timeframe giving them more of an immunity to the H1N1. The reason younger people are at risk for this specific strain is that nothing similar has been around for 65 years so younger people do not have ANY immunity to it. That is why this is such a big deal.

Thank you for your artical I think it will show many others that there is a concern going on. For those of you with questions the H1N1 is not targeting the elderly accourding to studies hence they not need the shot although they still need to worry about the common flu. And most adults age 18+ can avoid getting the H1N1 flu virus by making sure you wash your hands after doing anything. Carry around some hand sanatizer if it makes you feel safer that way we can limit how many of us (since there are so many) need to recieve the shots and we can save them for those who really need them like our children and pregnant mothers.

Here in New Zealand the media went crazy about Swine Flu appox 60% of the population were going to get it , but in fact the whole thing has been less severe than the normal Flu season, people have died but they were obese or had other problems, like chronic Asthma etc. My 7 yr old daughter had it and she was ill for about 5 days, but recovered well.

Why all these Public Health Officials and Doctors gave prediction like Weather Reporters? It does not take a brainer to make an educated guess. It is too obvious that everyone already knows the effects of H1N1. Why don't these people tell us something we don't know or come up with useful plans that we public can deal with this issue rather than giving dumb predictions that do us no good.

I believe this flu has been targeting the 18-40 set the most--basically people who are considered to have the strongest immune systems. At least, that's what the early reports were. I imagine that's why senior citizens are #7 on the list. It is a bit strange though. I wonder if the government will be able to even make that much vaccine.

What a bunch of hype!
This flu is considerably milder than the typical seasonal flu. They are going to use pregnant women and children as guinea pigs for their dangerous, barely tested vaccines. Remember the last time they pulled this scam in 1976! Many died and many more were left paralyzed from the vaccine and the "swine flu" never materialized.

@not ok

Read the other headlines...


"Children were 14 times more likely to be sickened by swine flu than adults 60 and older"

This is pure propaganda. Are we really supposed to beleive that 1 in 4 Californians have swine flu? Just the system's attempt to "vaccinate" as many people as they can. It's pure bull.

Not Ok,

Yes Seniors are not at risk of N1N1 infection. Actually most people over 50 seem to have some immunity. Probably due to a similar flu circulating when they were young.

H1N1 was created to be like the 1918 Flu
It kills the young not necessarily the very young or old as "normal" Flu does.


I leave it to you all to figure out.

Those interested in this subject should take a look at what Aethlon Medical, Inc. (AEMD), a small California based company, has done in this area. Aethlon has designed a Hemopurifier that has been successfully tested on HCV and HIV patients in India. The Hemopurifier is currently being tested by the US Government to possibly treat Swine Flu, since it was so successful in removing Spanish Flu in previous tests.

More "maybe yes, maybe no" expert information. And if they scare us bad enough, we will be willing to take untested flu shots for a illness that so far has been far less harmful than the flu we deal with every year. Just another scare tactic and I am not so easily scared by the media anymore....have decided to think for myself. Wish everyone else in this country would do the same.

Those 65 and older have a natural immunity to H1N1 since it was prevalent when the older folks were in elementary school.

So it's good to be old...

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