Navigation Links
As Swine Flu Fades, Experts Ponder Next Season
Date:2/5/2010

Some believe H1N1 will persist for years to come, but in what form remains unclear

FRIDAY, Feb. 5 (HealthDay News) -- After nearly a year of headlines, worry and confusion, the H1N1 swine flu virus is now out of the news. Is it out of circulation as well?

The latest data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention finds no states reporting widespread influenza activity and only five reporting regional activity.

But to say the virus has disappeared is an overstatement, said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner.

"We're still seeing activity across the country. It's certainly not at the levels of late October, early November, but activity is still going on, and we have many weeks left in our flu season," he stated. "It's too early to say this is over."

Other experts agreed.

"It certainly seems to have died down in this country. It's gone very quiet," confirmed David Topham, co-director of the New York Influenza Center of Excellence and associate professor of microbiology and immunology at the University of Rochester (N.Y.) Medical Center.

Dr. Len Horovitz, a pulmonary specialist with Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, said his office still sees the occasional swine flu patient, but fewer than it did last spring, summer and fall.

"It's not completely over. It's just that the number of cases and certainly the death rate and pediatric death rates have fallen so drastically that we're not hearing so much about it," he said.

Topham agreed that the United States hasn't seen the last of this flu strain. "I'm pretty confident that this virus is here to stay with us. It will become one of the seasonal influenzas we'll have to contend with," he said.

But just what form that might take remains a mystery.

Could this be the start of a two-seasonal-flu era? Or will H1N1 assume the mantle of seasonal flu, taking over from H3N2, the traditional strain of "seasonal" flu?

The distinction between H1N1 and the "regular" seasonal flu "doesn't seem to be very useful any more," said Philip Alcabes, associate professor in the urban public health program of the School of Health Sciences, Hunter College, City University of New York. "The flu is very hard to predict and what you think you know is only what happened before. There can always be a surprise."

The surprise this season: Experts are spotting very little of the H3N2 virus they're accustomed to seeing year after year (albeit in a slightly altered form each year) but much more of H1N1.

That, said Topham, "is unusual."

Alcabes agreed. "Up until last year I would have said, of course there's going to be plenty of [seasonal] flu around this time of year, but now we see something different," he said.

So far, H1N1 viruses in circulation remain similar to those in the 2009 H1N1 vaccine, the CDC said.

None of this shed light on whether the swine flu will disappear or reappear.

"We don't know if this is a single one-time anomaly or if the seasonality of the flu is changing in some ways," Alcabes said.

If the swine flu does return, Topham predicted that it would reappear next winter, not in April as happened last year.

One thing is certain, though: Novel H1N1 will be part of the next flu vaccine.

"We fully expect to include the H1N1 virus in next [season's] vaccine along with H3N2," Skinner said. "Whether or not H1N1 is going to be the predominant strain again next season, we'll just have to wait and see," Skinner said.

"We had a global pandemic, but we had a mild flu," said Dr. Scott Lillibridge, assistant dean of the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health in Houston and executive director of the National Center for Emergency Medical Preparedness and Response. "We probably need to begin to look at how deadly the virus is, more than just how infective it is. We need to factor in how virulent the virus is in figuring out what measures we need to implement to control the spread."

More information

Find updates on both types of influenza at the CDC.



SOURCES: David Topham, Ph.D., co-director, New York Influenza Center of Excellence and associate professor of microbiology and immunology, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; Philip Alcabes, Ph.D., associate professor in urban public health program, School of Health Sciences, Hunter College, City University of New York, New York City; Tom Skinner, spokesman, CDC; Len Horovitz, pulmonary specialist, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Scott Lillibridge, M.D., assistant dean at the Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health, Houston, and executive director of the National Center for Emergency Medical Preparedness and Response


'/>"/>
Copyright©2010 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. Swine flu monitoring needed for farm workers, study says
2. eFoodSafety Enters Research Agreement with University of Minnesota to Test New Food-Grade Antiviral for Swine Influenza Virus
3. Swine Flu Cases Now Total 7: CDC
4. At Least 16 Dead, Hundreds Ill in Swine Flu Outbreak in Mexico
5. At Least 20 Dead, Hundreds Ill in Swine Flu Outbreak in Mexico
6. International SOS Releases Web Site to Educate Public About Swine Flu Outbreak
7. WHO Warns of Possible Pandemic as Mexico Seeks to Contain Swine Flu
8. U.S. Declares Public Health Emergency in Response to Swine Flu
9. Obama Says Swine Flu Outbreak No Cause for Alarm
10. Pennsylvania Working Closely With Federal Partners to Contain Impact of Swine Flu
11. Swine Flu: Infection Control in Hospitals Will Be Critical
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... June 25, 2016 , ... Conventional wisdom preaches the benefits of moderation, whether ... latter, setting the bar too high can result in disappointment, perhaps even self-loathing. However, ... their goal. , Research from PsychTests.com reveals that behind the tendency ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... June 24, 2016 , ... Those who have experienced traumatic events may suffer ... unhealthy avenues, such as drug or alcohol abuse, as a coping mechanism. To avoid ... healthy coping following a traumatic event. , Trauma sufferers tend to feel a range ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... ... Marcy was in a crisis. Her son James, eight, was out of control. Prone to ... , “When something upset him, he couldn’t control his emotions,” remembers Marcy. “If there ... my other children and say he was going to kill them. If we were ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Global law firm Greenberg Traurig, P.A. announced that 20 Florida ... their peers for this recognition are considered among the top 2 percent of lawyers ... as members of this year’s Legal Elite Hall of Fame: Miami Shareholders Mark ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... CA (PRWEB) , ... June 24, 2016 , ... Comfort ... the American Cancer Society and the Road To Recovery® program to drive cancer patients ... seniors and other adults to ensure the highest quality of life and ongoing independence. ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/26/2016)... , June 27, 2016  VMS Rehab Systems, Inc. ... will take whatever measures required to build a strong ... which is currently listed on the OTC Markets-pink current ... Chairman and CEO, "We are seeing an anomaly in ... understand, not only by the Company, but shareholders and ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... 2016  Consumers have taken a more active ... more emphasis on patient outcomes. ... the pharmaceutical industry have evolved beyond just providing ... are focusing on becoming more patient-oriented across their ... services that improve health. ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... FRANCISCO, Calif. , June 24, 2016 /PRNewswire/ ... ), a biopharmaceutical company developing novel therapeutics for ... unmet needs, today announced the closing of its ... of common stock, at the public offering price ... in the offering were offered by GBT. GBT ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: