Friday, June 25, 2010

H1N1 Swine Flu Could Be Back in October

As we in the western world enjoy the lazy hazy days of summer, the flu is probably the last thing on our minds – that’s a winter thing, right?

But yesterday, the American Centers for Disease Control (CDC) Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices began planning ahead, recommending children between six-months and nine-years-old receive not one, but two doses of H1N1 Swine Flu vaccine this fall, as the notorious killer flu continues to circulate the globe.

Every year, the three most common strains of the flu virus are placed in the seasonal flu vaccine. The World Health Organization (WHO) monitors these strains, and currently the H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic virus is still the most prevalent one around the world – which is why the American CDC is suggesting it be included in the seasonal flu vaccine.

The two shots for kids is intended for children who haven’t received an H1N1 vaccine ever, as their bodies don’t have any way to fight the dreaded H1N1 Swine Flu.

CDC estimates that about 60 million people – that’s 20 percent of the American population – were infected with H1N1 Swine Flu since the spring of 2009.

Most flu viruses attack children, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems hardest, but H1N1 Swine Flu affected children hardest, as they haven’t built up immunity from past flu vaccinations over the course of many years.

Not that adults are immune from the deadly virus, they may eventually be included in the H1N1 Swine Flu vaccination program in the fall as well – but children are still more at risk from this particular strain of flu.

Last year, from April to November, the CDC says about 830 to 1,730 children under 17-years-old died from H1N1 Swine Flu.

On June 11, 2009, WHO declared an H1N1 Swine Flu pandemic, moving their alert level to “phase 6,” marking the first global pandemic since the 1968 Hong Kong Flu. About one million people died between 1968 and 1969 from the Hong Kong Flu.

WHO’s latest update on May 30, 2010 says 214 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, resulting in over 18,138 deaths.

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