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Mark Lennihan/AP

US Estimates 1 Million Infected With Swine Flu; How Deadly Is It?

June 30, 2009 07:00 PM
by Haley A. Lovett
The fatality rate for H1N1 might be lower than expected, but health officials worry about outbreaks in summer camps and potential deadly mutations of the virus in months to come.

U.S. Accounts for Half of Worldwide Cases, Deaths From Swine Flu

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In a CDC press briefing from June 26, Dr. Anne Schuchat said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimate that there have been at least 1 million cases of the H1N1 virus in the United States; reported cases are less than 30,000.

The BBC explains that health organizations are looking to countries in the southern hemisphere that are now experiencing winter, such as Chile and Argentina, to see how the H1N1 virus might act in the northern hemisphere during the coming winter.

H1N1 Flu at Summer Camps

The average age for infection is much younger than that of seasonal influenza, and the average age for those who die from H1N1 is 37, according to Dr. Schuchat. Risk factors such as diabetes, heart disease, asthma and other chronic health problems play a role in the severity of the H1N1 flu. But the young average age of the infected has caused worry about spread in schools, and now, as summer is here, at summer camp.

Ian McCann of The Dallas Morning News points out that summer camps across the U.S. are on alert for H1N1 flu symptoms in staff and campers, and many camps have decided to shut down for the summer after experiencing outbreaks.

Background of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) Pandemic

On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization raised the alert level for the H1N1 virus to a pandemic. Health officials explained that although the H1N1 virus is at a pandemic level, this designation refers to the degree to which it has spread worldwide, not how deadly the actual virus is.

H1N1 is an influenza virus that was first found in swine before infecting humans.

To learn more about pandemics and epidemics, visit findingDulcinea’s Pandemics and Epidemics Reference Guide.
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