Thursday, 7 May 2009

US Teens Suffer as Vanity overides Safety

As Asia enforces strict quarantine to contain this latest Swine Flu,
US has abandoned all caution because it is thought that this is just
normal flu.

Many don't know that normal flu is also Swine Flu i.e. H1N1 and kills
36,000 annually, but mostly the young and the old.

This current Swine Flu is different. It attacks all ages. That alone
should indicate that it is not as mild as common flu but fatality is
still low because of the timely administration of Tamilflu.

Just hope that it does not mix with the normal Swine Flu that is
already immune to Tamilflu in the USA.

Abandoning masks because it is not effective is indeed foolish. It is
just like saying that Abram M1 tanks should be abandoned because it is
useless against rocket propelled grenades.

It is true that masks are not not 100% effective against any virus but
it reduces the chance of it coming into our body.By reducing the
number, we hope that our immune system has time to deal with it.

Even the cheapest paper masks, that has an efficiency of 70% is still
useful because they are easy to carry.

Younger Age of More Severe Swine Flu Cases Worries Experts
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WEDNESDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- While the large majority of U.S.
cases of swine flu continue to be mild, those who are hospitalized
with more severe disease appear to be atypically young, federal health
officials said Wednesday.

The median age of hospitalized individuals with swine flu is 15, which
is younger than occurs with regular seasonal flu, Dr. Richard Besser,
acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, said during an afternoon news conference.

"We are seeing the same distribution in hospitalized patients as we
are in milder cases in the community, and that's younger than what you
would see in seasonal flu," Besser said. "In seasonal flu you tend to
see a predominance of burden of disease in the elderly and in the very
young, and here we are seeing it more in the younger population."

"That is something we are keeping our eye on. That is something that
raises concern," he added.

Overall, the age spread for hospitalized patients ranges from 8 months
to 53 years of age, Besser said. Why the more severe cases are skewing
young remains unclear, he said, but it could be that younger people
are getting sicker sooner, or older people may have some kind of built-
in immunity.

In any case, the U.S. outbreak of H1N1 swine flu is continuing and,
although most cases are still mild, more deaths are expected, Besser
said. "We remain concerned," he said. "We are seeing continued spread
around the country. We are seeing increases in numbers of patients."

The death earlier this week of a woman in Texas, the first U.S.
resident to die from the swine flu, "reminds us that influenza can be
a very serious infection, and it's one we need to continue to take
very seriously," Besser added.

According to the Associated Press, Texas health officials have not
said that the death of 33-year-old schoolteacher Judy Trunnell was
directly caused by the H1N1 flu, noting that she also had unspecified
"chronic underlying conditions."

Late Tuesday, reports surfaced that the government would ask Americans
to get three vaccinations for the upcoming flu season -- one for the
seasonal flu and two for this new strain of H1N1. However, on
Wednesday Besser said that it was premature to make that decision.

"Before a vaccine is administered there are a series of studies that
need to be taken. These are under the direction of the National
Institutes of Health and approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
They need to do studies to determine how much of the antigen needs to
be in the vaccine to stimulate protection," he said.

"They will also need to see -- do you get sufficient immunity from one
dose, do you need more than one dose," Besser said. "With each vaccine
it's different, with different age groups it's different. It's really
early to say how many vaccines someone is going to need until those
studies are done," he said. "Hopefully, we will be able to find a
vaccine that worked with one dose."

Besser said that, as of Wednesday, the CDC was reporting 1,487
probable and confirmed cases in 44 states. "That's an increase of
around 400 from yesterday. There are around 850 probable cases and 642
confirmed cases. The confirmed cases are in 41 states," he said.

In addition, there are 35 confirmed hospitalizations from the flu and
an additional 17 probably caused by flu, Besser said. Much of the
increase in cases is due to catching up on testing, but there is a
real increase in disease too, he said.

Besser noted that in Mexico, the outbreak's epicenter, the flu is
disappearing in some areas and popping up in others, which is what
will be seen in the United States as well.

"When you see a large outbreak or epidemic it is frequently made up of
a series of smaller outbreaks and epidemics. What they are seeing in
Mexico is parts of the country where they are seeing increases in
disease and in parts of the country they are seeing decreases in
disease. When you add that all up it may show some leveling off, but
it doesn't give a sense of how dynamic the situation is," he said.

The World Health Organization is now reporting about 1,500 cases of
swine flu in 22 countries, with Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom
having the most cases outside of Mexico and the United States.

Last week, a 23-month-old boy from Mexico, who also had underlying
health problems, died from the swine flu illness in a Houston
hospital. He was the first fatality in the United States from the
current swine flu outbreak.

On Tuesday, U.S. health officials said the outbreak of swine flu
appears similar to the seasonal flu in its severity, so schools across
the nation should remain open and any schools that did close should

This announcement marked a change from the previous guidance, which
recommended that affected schools close for at least two weeks.
Students who are sick with flu-like symptoms should stay home for at
least a week, officials cautioned.

What health experts don't know is whether the never-before-seen virus
will return, perhaps in a more dangerous form, when the regular flu
season begins again late this year. Because the pathogen is a genetic
mix of pig, bird and human flu strains, health officials are worried
that humans may have no natural immunity to it.

As with the previously tested strains of the swine flu virus, new
testing has found that the pathogen remains susceptible to the two
common antiviral drugs Tamiflu and Relenza, according to the CDC.

And that has led to a boom in sales of the two drugs in the United
States, the AP reported. Frightened by the prospects of the swine flu,
Americans are snapping up the two antiviral medicines that treat the
virus, whether they have it or not.

On Wednesday afternoon, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said it
had approved a new manufacturing facility used to produce influenza
vaccines. The facility is approved for seasonal flu vaccine production
and could be used to produce vaccine against the new H1N1 swine flu

The facility, located in the United States, is owned and operated by
Sanofi Pasteur, and will greatly increase the company's production
capability, the FDA said in a news release.

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