Update on H1N1 swine flu and vaccine

James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.

H1N1 influenza documented cases in the U.S. are closing in on 7000 but the CDC is reporting fewer new cases.  Good news, but there are several caveats.

Usually you can multiply by 10 to get a reasonable estimate of the total actual cases since not all are reported and documented by the CDC.  My understanding locally is the health department is now only interested in documenting new cases which require hospitalization.

In the 1918 pandemic, which killed 500,000 in the U.S and 50 million worldwide, the first wave was mild and died down in the summer.  By fall it had mutated into a deadly virus.

The CDC will probably suggest getting the usual flu vaccine early this fall so you can get a second H1N1 immunization a few weeks later.

An interesting sideline is H1N1 has only infected a small percent of U.S. people over age 65.  Speculation is these seniors were infected by a distant H1N1 relative some time before 1957 and have a few antibodies left to fight off the current virus.

I only practice part-time but have not seen any swine flu cases.  Have any of you?

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4 Responses to “Update on H1N1 swine flu and vaccine”

  1. Dr. J Says:

    Thanks for the information! It looks like it’s not going to be as bad as was predicted. That’s a nice change :-)

    Dr. Js last blog post..Dr. J on looking at the small picture

  2. James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H. Says:

    Dr. J,

    I think the worry turns to the fall to see if it comes back in a more virulent mutated form.

    James Hubbard, M.D., M.P.H.s last blog post.."Natural" Medicine and the FDA: Why supplements require your own oversight

  3. Steve Parker, M.D. Says:

    I’m a full-time hospitalist and have seen a couple cases of hospitalized type A flu in the last two weeks. Await determination from the Arizona Health Dept. as to whether they were swine flu. As usual with flu, the people that get hospitalized are usually very old, very young, or chronically ill with cardiac or pulmnary disease.

    I’m guessing this flu will head to the Southern hemisphere for the winter, then return here in the fall. But only God knows.

    -Steve

    Steve Parker, M.D.s last blog post..Spanish Ketogenic Mediterranean Diet

  4. jhubbard Says:

    Thanks for the info Dr. Parker. If it heads back I hope it has not mutated.

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