Swine Flu Update
21 July 2009
The World Health Organization has recently announced that the new H1N1 strain of swine flu is “unstoppable” and that every country should vaccinate its citizens against the virus. This statement came as New Zealand researchers announced further that H1N1 has replaced seasonal influenza as the dominant strain during that country’s current wintertime flu season. Of significance, Sue Huang, head of New Zealand’s influenza center, said it’s the most contagious bug she has ever seen.
Other recent reports point to older people being more immune to H1N1 due to exposure to similar strains when they were younger, whereas younger people can sometimes have life-threatening implications having little or no immunity to H1N1.
It is of interest to note that H1N1 doesn’t remain in the nose and throat as do most seasonal flu viruses. It can replicate aggressively in the lungs and intestines, doing severe damage to multiple organs, especially among those who are overweight. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention(CDC) noted that 9 out of 10 patients treated for H1N1 in an ICU at the University of Michigan were obese.
Several companies are currently rushing to produce vaccines in time for the Northern Hemisphere’s winter flu season. The real question(s) that will be central on the minds of the decision makers will be: 1) Will there be enough vaccine available to vaccinate everyone?, and 2) if not, who will establish the list of priorities for those who get vaccinated and those who do not??
Sources: CDC, WHO
A very handy and useful check list is available for individuals and families that wish to plan for influenza pandemic now at: http://www.pandemicflu.gov. On the left-hand side of the screen scroll down to the Plan and Prepare heading and open. Depending on one’s particular interest, there is a wide variety of items to choose from………….