Wednesday, October 14, 2009

A Snapshot of H1N1 (Swine Flu) from WHO & CDC

The following information is based on finding from the World Health Organization (WHO) & Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and some other sources. Some of the information is new. It gives us a snapshot of H1N1 as we currently know it.

1) H1N1 has been labled "moderate" instead of mild by WHO because "WHO is concerned about current patterns of serious cases and deaths that are occurring primarily among young persons, including the previously healthy and those with pre-existing medical conditions or pregnancy."

2) "46 percent of 1,400 hospitalized adults did not have a chronic underlying condition."

3) It's more virulent then expected. "One quarter of Americans sick enough to be hospitalized with swine flu last spring wound up needing intensive care and 7 percent of them died." "What is striking and unusual is that children and teens accounted for nearly half of the hospitalized cases, including many who were previously healthy."

4) The hardest hit have been children & young adults. Almost half of those hospitalized for H1N1 are under 25.

5) More children have died now in the very beginning of this flu season as died during all of last yeas flu season (in the U.S.). "86 children (have died) since April (CDC). That's a startling number because in some past winters, the CDC has counted 40 or 50 child deaths for the entire flu season — and no one knows how long this swine flu outbreak will last.

6) CDC says that nearly 1 in 3 pregnant women hospitalized with H1N1 have died in the U.S. (28 out of 100 died).


Folks this H1N1 pandemic is shaping up to have a bit of a bite to it. I hope that you will consider getting the flu shots that are offered this year. With the two flues and not many clinics that make vaccine, there could be a shortage especially since there is global demand. Please do not put it off until later. There might not be vaccine later.

Many who die of H1N1, dies of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome). Of those who have ARDS 30% to 50% die. It is obviously very serous. I have added an article below about it. You might also want to take a look at the video. It is excellent.


How H1N1 Can Kill by Dr. Jennifer Ashton (CBS)

"Federal officials said a vaccine to help prevent the new flu is expected to be ready by mid to late October. But still some people are wondering how you can actually die from the H1N1 virus.

CBS News medical correspondent Dr. Jennifer Ashton sat down with Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith and took a closer look at what happens to the body.

Germs are everywhere - in our homes, offices, and schools. While some are harmless, others can be deadly, like the H1N1 virus or swine flu.

It spreads when a carrier coughs or sneezes; another person touches the object or surface with the flu virus on it and then touches his own nose or mouth.

The virus is inhaled by the body and goes straight to the lungs. The virus attaches to the lung cells, infecting the body. Over the course of days, the blood vessels in the lungs or the air sacs are damaged. Fluid leaks from the blood vessels into the air sacs of the lungs. While some air sacs fill with fluid, others collapse altogether. When the air sacs collapse, the lungs can no longer inflate as they normally would with oxygen. The lungs become stiff.

Without air entering the lungs, the amount of oxygen in the blood drops. If diagnosed early, some patients will get extra oxygen supplied by a breathing machine; others may fall into a coma. Patients die from H1N1 because their lungs give out via lack of oxygen or drowned by fluids.

At this time, 50 percent of H1N1 deaths are due to viral pneumonia and half the fatalities have been in people with pre-existing medical conditions like obesity, diabetes, and pregnancy.

An animation was shown that demonstrated the affects of ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).

"Is that flu or is that pneumonia?" Smith asked after viewing the animation.

"Well, what that described is a situation we referred to as ARDS where the lungs literally become like sponges and can't exchange oxygen. That can happen with the viral pneumonia, a bacterial pneumonia, but half of the deaths due to H1N1 have been due to this viral pneumonia leading to that kind of pulmonary failure," Ashton explained.

Last week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported to Ashton that it has studied the autopsy results of the people who have succumbed to the H1N1 virus, and found that about half of the cases are in people who were either obese, had diabetes, or were pregnant and suppressed their immune system.

"So they were at a higher risk going into this virus, which, again, we have to emphasize in most cases have been mild, but they were at higher risk going into severe complications that then led to their death," she added.

According to Ashton, there's a "variable time course," where sometimes it happens over hours, days, or weeks. But Ashton stressed that once ARDS sets into the lungs and the patient is put on a ventilator, multiple organ systems then begin to fail and the mortality rate can be as high as 30 percent to 50 percent. "


Anonymous said...

Wow. thanks for the wake up call. but i can't find it anywhere yet. as soon as i can, i'm on it.

Dr. Deb said...

That was very helpful information.

Awake In Rochester said...

Hi L'uragano (The Hurricane),

Yes, it's the same here. You can go to for info.
Hi Dr. Deb,
Glad you liked it. ;)