Saturday, 24 October 2009

US under Flu Epidemic for the past 3 weeks

This report by CDC is published by this chinese news agency, but not
widely published by US news agencies, as shown by google news search.

It can only get worse as winter approaches and the vaccine is too slow
in coming.

The second wave of Spanish Flu in 1918 had nothing to do with
mutation. It was just winter.
Similarly for this Swine Flu 2009.

U.S. records notable increase in deaths from phneumonia, flu in past
week 2009-10-24 13:09:46 Print

HOUSTON, Oct. 23 (Xinhua) -- The U. S. Centers for Disease Control
and Prevention (CDC) on Friday reported 507 more deaths caused by
pneumonia and influenza (P&I) in the past week, bringing the death
toll to 2,827 since the beginning of September.

The CDC said on its web site that from Aug. 30 to Oct. 17 there
had been 8,204 laboratory-confirmed flu-related hospitalizations and
411 deaths, 21,832 pneumonia and influenza syndrome hospitalizations
and 2,416 deaths nationwide.

Last Friday, the CDC reported 4,958 laboratory-confirmed flu-
related hospitalizations and 292 deaths. Meanwhile, the pneumonia and
influenza syndrome-based hospitalizations and deaths reached 15,696
and 2,029 respectively in the previous week.

Most notable figure the CDC released on Friday is that the
proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based
on the 122 Cities Report has crossed what is recognized as the
threshold of epidemic.

"During the 41th week (last week), 6.9 percent (comparing 6.7
percent in the previous week) of all deaths reported through the 122-
Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to P&I. " the CDC said,
pointing out that "this percentage was above the epidemic threshold of
6.6 percent for week 40."

The P&I mortality has been above the threshold of epidemic for
three consecutive weeks since the 39th week, the CDC added.

Meanwhile, visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI)
continued to climb and has been much higher than expected for this
time of the year.

Nationwide, 7.1 percent of visits to doctors reported through the
U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet)
were due to influenza-like illness (ILI), comparing with 6.1 percent
in the previous week.

This percentage is more than tripling the national baseline of 2.3
percent, the CDC experts explained.

Both World Health Organization (WHO) and U.S. National Respiratory
and Enteric Virus Surveillance System (NREVSS) reported to CDC's
Influenza Division that all subtyped influenza Aviruses being reported
to CDC in recent weeks were 2009 influenza A/H1N1 viruses.

All these key figures indicate that the country as a whole has
been in the second wave of the epidemic of A/H1N1 virus since early

Also on Friday, CDC Director Dr. Thomas Frieden admitted that the
A/H1N1 flu was more widespread now than it's ever been and had
resulted in more than 1,000 deaths so far.

"Many millions" of Americans had acquired A/H1N1 flu so far, he
said at a press conference in Atlanta. "The government doesn't test
everyone to confirm A/H1N1 flu, so it doesn't have an exact count," he

"We are now in the second wave of pandemic influenza," the CDC
director said, pointing out that 46 states are reporting widespread
flu activities.

The latest statistics released by the CDC on Friday show that the
only states without widespread flu are Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey
and South Carolina.

"What we have learned more in the last couple of weeks is that not
only is the virus unpredictable, but vaccine production is much less
predictable than we expected," Dr. Frieden told reporters.

A CDC survey released on Thursday found that one in five U.S.
children had a flu-like illness earlier this month, and most of the
cases were probably A/H1N1 flu.

"We expect that influenza will occur in waves. We can't predict
how high, how far or how long the wave will go or when the next will
come. " Dr. Frieden predicted.

As nervous Americans clamor for the A/H1N1 flu vaccine, production
of the vaccine is running several weeks behind schedule as the vaccine
is growing more slowly in egg-based cultures than manufacturers have
anticipated, resulting in fewer available doses.

"As of Friday, there have been 16.1 million doses on hand
nationwide, up from 14.1 million on Wednesday," Frieden said. "It's
frustrating to all of us. We are nowhere near where we thought we
would be by now."

Because of production delays, the government has backed off
initial, optimistic estimates that as many as 120 million vaccine
doses would be available by mid-October.

The flu virus has to be grown in chicken eggs and the yield hasn't
been as high as was initially hoped, CDC officials explained.

The wide spread of the A/H1N1 virus epidemic plus the unpredicted
delay of the vaccines are complicating the CDC strategy against the
second wave of the epidemic.

"Whether this will continue through the fall into winter, whether
it will go away and come back in the winter, only time will tell," Dr.
Frieden said.
Editor: Deng Shasha

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