This is an update on the status of the H1N1 ( Swine ) Flu information since my post on Swine Flu and Autoimmune Disease (click here to view previous post). One June 11, 2009 Dr. Margaret Chan, Director-General of the World Health Organization (WHO) announced that the World Health Organization(WHO) raised the worldwide pandemic alert to a Phase 6 ( also known as the pandemic phase). This phase is characterized by community level outbreak via human-to-human spread of the virus in multiple parts of the world.
Currently more than 70 countries have reported cases of H1N1 (swine flu) infection. This number has been steadily increasing in recent weeks. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to raise the alert level to Phase 6 means that the spread of the disease is worldwide. At this time it is unclear how serious or intense this pandemic will be. It is difficult to predict how many people will become infected and how serious the complications from this disease will be.. Because this is a new strain of the influenza virus many people have little or no immunity against it. As of this post there is no vaccine to protect against the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus. However the U.S. Government is taking steps to process and manufacture a H1N1 (Swine Flu) vaccine. The CDC (Centers for Disease & Prevention) has isolated the virus and has made a candidate vaccine which will be used to create the vaccine. It generally takes several months to complete the process to make a vaccine.
Countries in the Southern Hemisphere are just beginning their influenza season. Information obtained from the Southern Hemisphere countries experiences during their flu season may provide valuable information to Northern Hemisphere countries in preparation for it’s own flu season
All 50 states in the U.S., the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico have reported cases of the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus. Most people in the United States that have become ill with the H1N1 virus have recovered without medical treatment. Currently 33,902 cases of the H1N1 (swine flu) virus have been reported in the United States with 170 deaths reported. The Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) does anticipate that there will be more new cases of this virus reported, more hospitalizations and more deaths associate with this virus in the weeks to come. The CDC anticipates signification illness associated with the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus in the fall and winter months which is typically the U.S. influenza season.
The CDC ( Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) has issued priority use for antiviral drugs during this outbreak to treat people that are at increased risk of severe illness and those hospitalized with the H1N1 virus. People at high risk include young children, people with chronic health conditions such as diabetes, asthma, metabolic disease, lung, heart or kidney disease or those with weakened immune systems and those with neurologic or neuromuscular disease.
The CDC has provided information on what to do if you become sick (click here for link ) and how to care for someone who is sick with the virus at home.(click here for link) The most important thing that you can do right now is to stay informed.