Saturday, February 06, 2010

Is The US Swine Flu Epidemic Over?

I remember in this area, back in October 2009, when everyone just was not believing that H1N1 was around - or the "epidemic" was not real. Then, for about a 2-3 week span locally - BAM - it seemed like there were cases every where. When I walked throug the waiting room at the hospital, there were folding chairs out, and it was standing room only. Almost every day at the office, the phone was ringing off the hook. Then, as November came, everything calmed down...

A report yesterday from the Associated press asks the question, "Is The US Swine Flu Epidemic Over." In the article, you see the graphic above which showed a spike in cases nationally to be in October as well - then a rapid drop off. It seems that just recently, federal health officials have begun to downplay the virus. However, there are some in the academic/scientific community not quite ready to call it over yet.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released numbers Friday showing most states continued to have only occasional flu activity last week. However, only three states had absolutely no reports, and a CDC official cautioned that swine flu is still around and is likely to keep infecting people for weeks or months to come. "We don't seem to be seeing the disappearance of this virus," said the official, Dr. Anne Schuchat.

Whether there will be another wave of swine flu — as was seen in the spring last year and again in the early fall — is a much harder question, she added. Her comments reflect a raging debate among scientists. One expert told The Associated Press he thinks a spike in H1N1 cases is likely by May, though perhaps a smaller one than last fall. Another said he did not expect another spike. A third predicted another wave, but not until next fall at the earliest. A fourth refused to even guess.
Finally, what follows below are a couple of TV interviews I did as recently as a week ago giving local viewers an "H1N1 Update." (link to Interview1 and Interview 2) Even though the data is showing a drop off in cases, I still recommend people still receive an H1N1 immunization (like from this New Mexico news report). I just remember how complacent we all were locally around here just before October 2009 hit. So, even though I believe that this outbreak has pretty much completed, who knows what will happen in the future. And if a next outbreak occurs in the next few months, as some have said, we'll be even more prepared than we were before.

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