Urgent CDC Warning Of Threat From H1N1 Swine Flu

Feb 20 2014, 7:09pm CST | by

Urgent CDC Warning Of Threat From H1N1 Swine Flu
Photo Credit: Forbes Business

If you haven’t had a flu shot yet this year, get one. This from the CDC, which issued an urgent call for flu shots today, warning that this year’s flu season is turning out to be particularly deadly and still has weeks or even months to go.

“Flu can be serious for anyone, and it can kill,” said Centers for Disease Control (CDC) director Tom Frieden, M.D. “Vaccination is the single most important thing you can do to protect yourself.”

The CDC is calling for flu shots for everyone except babies under 6 months, including pregnant women. The flu can kill a healthy child in as little as three days, CDC officials warned in a report issued in the October 28 issue of Pediatrics.

This year’s biggest flu threat is the H1N1 virus, informally known as swine flu, a virulent strain of the virus that caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009.

More worrisome is who’s getting sick – because it’s not the elderly and infirm, as you might expect. Instead, more than 60 percent of those hospitalized were between the ages of 18 and 64, according to CDC reports published today in this week’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). And a scary 60 percent of flu deaths have been among those 25 to 65.

This is a big change from past flu seasons, in which adults under 65 have made up just 35-45 percent of those seriously ill enough to be hospitalized.

Unfortunately, it’s this population group that’s also least likely to get flu shots, officials say, prompting their strongly worded public call for vaccination.

Today’s numbers come from a national sampling of 122 U.S cities, but the CDC also issued a special report for California, where the flu has been particularly deadly in recent weeks. Flu deaths in California reached 243 on February 8th, the California Department of Public Health reported, but also said the peak season may have passed in the state (where spring comes early).

Swine Flu Pandemic Revisited?

Most people remember H1Ni from the pandemic of 2009, when swine flu swept the country after the flu strain arrived here in April, very late in the flu season. In that episode, serious illness predominantly involved children and adults under the age of 24, leading the CDC to conclude that older people may have developed antibodies to the virus.

While this year’s numbers aren’t yet closing in on 2009, the fact that it’s young and middle-aged adults who are getting sick changes the picture significantly.

CDC data from the period September 29, 2013 to February 8, 2014 list 571 deaths associated with the flu, and out of those 352, or 62 percent were aged 25 to 64. CDC officials expressed concern that part of the problem might be that flu vaccination rates among adults are significantly lower than in the elderly and children.

Being Overweight or Obese a Risk Factor

The majority of the people becoming seriously ill or dying from H1Ni this year already suffered from some other health condition, in many cases diabetes or obesity, which were also identified as risk factors in 2009.

Tomás Aragón, an epidemiologist at the University of California, Berkeley, here offers a cogent analysis of who’s on the “blacklist” for susceptibility to H1N1, and why you should take yourself off it – by getting vaccinated.

Getting a Flu Shot Isn’t Enough/>/>

Once you’ve gotten a flu shot, your vigilance shouldn’t stop there, experts say. Be on the alert for flu symptoms that seem to be worsening or not going away, particularly if you have other risk factors, such as obesity or a compromised immune system.

“It’s also important to remember that some people who get vaccinated may still get sick, and we need to use our second line of defense against flu: antiviral drugs to treat flu illness,” says the CDC’s Frieden. “People at high risk of complications should seek treatment if they get a flu-like illness. Their doctors may prescribe antiviral drugs if it looks like they have influenza.”

For more health news, follow me here on Forbes.com, on Twitter, @MelanieHaiken, and subscribe to my posts on Facebook.

Source: Forbes Business


Don't miss ...


<a href="/latest_stories/all/all/30" rel="author">Forbes</a>
Forbes is among the most trusted resources for the world's business and investment leaders, providing them the uncompromising commentary, concise analysis, relevant tools and real-time reporting they need to succeed at work, profit from investing and have fun with the rewards of winning.


blog comments powered by Disqus

Latest stories

Bhopal fugitive Warren Anderson is dead (Roundup, Changing dateline)
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) Warren Anderson, the former CEO of Union Carbide Corp, has died at 92 after living for 30 years under the shadow of the 1984 Bhopal gas tragedy that killed thousands.
Sit-ins delayed building powerhouses: Nawaz Sharif
Islamabad, Oct 31 (IANS) Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif Friday blamed sit-ins for delaying the construction of powerhouses in the country, as cricketer-turned-politician Imran Khan continued protesting with supporters in the capital city for over two months.
Britain to repay part of First World War debt
London, Oct 31 (IANS) British Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne Friday announced that the British government will pay off part of the country's First World War debt as part of the redemption of bonds stretching as far back as the 18th century.
UN-Habitat presents the first World Cities Day
Shanghai, Oct 31 (IANS/EFE) The UN Human Settlements Programme (UN-Habitat), headed by former Barcelona mayor Joan Clos, Friday launched its first World Cities Day in China, to be held every Oct 31 to promote sustainable development.

Latest from the Network

Arnold Schwarzenegger 'knew' he'd star in another Terminator movie
Arnold Schwarzenegger ''always knew'' he'd star in another 'Terminator' movie. The 67-year-old actor - the former governor of California - insists he wasn't surprised when he got a call from producers to appear in the...
Read more on Movie Balla
Anne Hathaway would 'love' a sequel to The Devil Wears Prada
Anne Hathaway would ''love'' to appear in a sequel to 'The Devil Wears Prada'. The Oscar-winning actress starred in the popular 2006 comedy-drama, which also featured Meryl Streep and Emily Blunt, and has revealed she...
Read more on Movie Balla
Lily Aldridge wearing mother's Playboy costume for Halloween
Lily Aldridge will wear her mother's old Playboy costume for Halloween. The 28-year-old model - who is married to Kings of Leon singer Caleb Followill - found her mum Laura Lyons' raunchy Playboy Bunny flight attendant...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Rochelle Humes' daughter loves Marvin doll
Rochelle Humes is embarrassed by her daughter's obsession with a doll of her husband, Marvin Humes. The 25-year-old singer has admitted she found it ''cringey'' when she was recently photographed holding a doll of her...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Keira Knightley annoyed Chloe Moretz didn't ask her advice
Keira Knightley was annoyed Chloe Grace Moretz didn't want her advice. The 29-year-old actress - who appears alongside the 17-year-old star in her latest movie 'Say When' - was disappointed that the young actress didn'...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Daniel Radcliffe loses everything
Daniel Radcliffe loses everything. The 'Horns' star admits he constantly has to replace his mobile phone and often puts things away and can't ever find them again. The 25-year-old actor said: ''I lose things a lot. At...
Read more on Celebrity Balla
Apple Outsmarts Samsung in Terms of Revenue Generation
Samsung can sell more products, but it doesn’t mean that it will earn more profit, as Apple overtakes the Korean giant with respect to the earnings.According to the Cult of Mac, Samsung earned a profit of $3.8 billion...
Read more on Apple Balla
Apple Declares Not to Remove PCalc iOS Calculator Widget
The PCalc iOs calculator widget is free from the risk of being removed, as Apple decides not to drop it from the App Store.According to Tech Crunch, the officials of Apple have confirmed about the move, stating that it...
Read more on Apple Balla
Seth Rogen to Act as Steve Wozniak in the Steve Jobs’ Movie
Seth Rogen has got an important role in the biopic of the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, as he has been selected to play as Steve Wozniak.According to the Variety, Rogen will be advised directly by Steve Wozniak, the...
Read more on Apple Balla
Ponzy schemer cheats residents of $22 mn, gets 15-year jail
Washington, Oct 31 (IANS) If you have been one of those approached by some 'known' person for investing in something with an assurance of 'easy money', you may benefit reading about this Ponzi schemer jailed in the US...
Read more on Politics Balla