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Friday, February 12,2010

Number of swine flu cases in U.S. reaches 57 million

By McClatchy-Tribune News Service

LOS ANGELES — An estimated 57 million Americans have contracted pandemic H1N1 influenza since the outbreak began last April, about 257,000 have been hospitalized with complications from it and nearly 12,000 have died, according to estimates released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The total number infected represents an increase of about 7 million flu cases since the latest estimate in December, a modest increase that correlates with other data suggesting the pandemic has been waning.

Most cases in all categories have involved children and adults under age 65, a sharp change from normal flu seasons, when the elderly suffer disproportionately. Although the overall death total is lower than the estimated 35,000 U.S. deaths in a normal flu season, the numbers in children and adults are much higher than normal.

The estimates are compiled from the number of laboratory-confirmed cases and from cases that may be listed on death certificates as pneumonia, organ failure or other infections, but that were precipitated by flu.

The most recent data on flu activity, for the week ending Feb. 6, show that overall activity is about the same as the previous week, with no states reporting widespread flu activity. Virtually all cases of influenza that were tested have been caused by the H1N1 virus rather than by seasonal flu viruses, a finding that leads some experts to predict — rather hopefully — that the country will not see a regular flu season this year.

Nonetheless, according to the official CDC report, "Flu activity, caused by either 2009 H1N1 or seasonal flu viruses, may rise and fall, but it is expected to continue for several more months."

The World Health Organization said Thursday that it will convene a panel of experts at the end of the month to discuss a move to the next phase of the pandemic, the so-called post-peak phase. That is a time, according to WHO documents, when "levels of pandemic influenza in most countries with adequate surveillance have dropped below peak levels." That phase suggests that the worst is over, but that the pandemic itself is not.

The WHO's advisory committee on vaccines will meet next week to discuss what virus strains should be included in the 2010-2011 seasonal flu vaccine. Because swine flu is the predominant form of virus that is now circulating, it is expected to be the primary ingredient.

(c) 2010, Los Angeles Times.

Visit the Los Angeles Times on the Internet at http://www.latimes.com/

Distributed by McClatchy-Tribune Information Services.

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I was with the Canadian Forces in 2009, was ordered to get the H1N1 shot (AREPANRIX by GSK GlaxoSmithKline) and had an adverse reaction to the vaccine.  I received PERMANENT neurological, cardiovascular, gastrointestinal, and respiratory symptoms: dizziness, vertigo, irregular heart rhythms, shortness of breath, muscle weakness and pain, and numbness in hands and feet. My physical fitness changed from special forces fit to that of a 70 year old in a matter of days.  Prior to the vaccination the Department of National Defence (DND) provided information advising side effects "having mild chills and fever a few days following the shot means it is working", and "There is a 1 in 1,000,000 chance of acquiring a serious neurological complication".  According to GSKs product information provided by Health Canada, "neurological disorders" are "very rare (may occur with up to 1 in 10,000 doses)" and "if any of these side effects occur, please tell your doctor or nurse immediately" which differs from the information provided to soldiers.  The DND also stated "It is not a live vaccine so it cannot give you the flu".  According to Dr. Danuta Skowronski, an epidemiologist and an influenza expert at the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, "In the early weeks of the pandemic that people who got the flu shot (H1N1) for 2008-09 winter seemed to be more likely to get infected with the pandemic virus than people who hadn't received the shot".  Another study linked narcolepsy, a neurological disorders to the H1N1 vaccine,  "Narcolepsy in association with pandemic influenza vaccination", September 2012, European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control.  You may also query the National Vaccine Information Center database of adverse reactions to vaccines (VAERS) which includes more than 11,465 events (adverse reactions) to the H1N1 vaccine, 3,390 symptoms and 61,500 reactions (more than 5 reactions per record).  In the UK, the "FINAL PUBLIC SUMMARY - UK Suspected Adverse Reaction Analysis, Swine Flu (H1N1) Vaccines - Celevanpan and Pandemrix, 26 March 2010" details more than 8,600 suspected reactions classified into 650 reaction names.  Other information to consider is from Richard Warrington, President of the Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology, "Vaccination with Arepanrix has led to far more reports of anaphylaxis or significant allergic reactions than is normally expected for a flu vaccine."  You may also ask your doctor and other Health care workers if they received the H1N1 vaccination and if they plan to remain up to date with all vaccinations.  Reports from Canada, US, India, Hong Kong and other countries note a 50% vaccination rate among those who recommend and administer the immunization.  According to Fox News "Most said they would pass on the H1N1 shot ... because they were afraid of side effects and doubted how safe and effective it would be."  I asked my doctor and he didn't hesitate in saying "no way".  Be informed and please choose wisely if you do plan to have your next flu shot or vaccination.