Navigation Links
Obama Declares Swine Flu a National Emergency

Action allows hospitals to better handle large numbers of patients as outbreak spreads

SATURDAY, Oct. 24 (HealthDay News) -- President Barack Obama has declared the H1N1 swine flu a national emergency.

His proclamation, signed Friday night and released by the White House Saturday morning, will allow hospitals and doctors' offices to get legal waivers of federal rules so they can handle large numbers of sick people as the outbreak spreads.

"The H1N1 is moving rapidly, as expected. By the time regions or health-care systems recognize they are becoming overburdened, they need to implement disaster plans quickly," White House spokesman Reid Cherlin said Saturday, according to the Washington Post.

The waivers, which will be issued by U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, still require individual requests by the hospitals, Cherlin noted.

The goal, according to the Associated Press, is to remove bureaucratic roadblocks and make it easier for sick people to seek treatment and for medical personnel to provide it immediately. That could mean fewer hurdles involving Medicare, Medicaid or health privacy regulations, the AP added.

The H1N1 swine flu is now widespread in 46 states, and there have been 1,000 laboratory-confirmed deaths since April, according to the latest estimates released Friday by U.S. health officials.

Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a news conference Friday, "We have already had millions of cases of pandemic influenza in the United States, and the numbers continue to increase."

At the same time, he said, production delays continue to hamper distribution of the H1N1 swine flu vaccine.

The vaccine is growing more slowly in egg-based cultures than manufacturers had anticipated, resulting in fewer available doses at this time, Frieden explained.

As of Friday, there were 16.1 million doses on hand nationwide, up from 14.1 on Wednesday, Frieden said. And there will be far fewer than the 40 million doses originally planned for the end of October, he added.

"Vaccine availability is increasing steadily, but far too slowly," Frieden said. "It's frustrating to all of us. We are nowhere near where we thought we would be by now. We are not near where the vaccine manufacturers predicted we would be."

The vaccine that is available comes in both nasal mist and injectable forms. The first doses were only the nasal spray, called FluMist, designed for healthy people 2 to 49 years of age. But now, more than half the doses are injectable, he said.

While children continue to be particularly vulnerable to the disease, Freiden said, "we are seeing it increasingly affect young adults as well as children. We are still not seeing significant numbers of cases among the elderly, and that's characteristic of this virus."

That's also a marked difference from run-of-the-mill seasonal flu, which typically poses a much bigger threat to the elderly.

There is encouraging news, Frieden said. The genetic makeup of the H1N1 virus hasn't changed, meaning the swine flu vaccine and the antiviral drug Tamiflu are a good match.

Frieden said the H1N1 flu would probably occur in waves, but "we can't predict how high, how far or long the wave will go, or when the next will come."

"We are now in the second wave of pandemic influenza and whether this will continue through the fall into the winter, whether it will go away and come back in traditional flu season, only time will tell," he said.

More information

To learn more about the H1N1 swine flu, visit the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

SOURCES: John Treanor, M.D., professor, medicine, and chief, infectious diseases division, University of Rochester Medical Center, Rochester, N.Y.; Oct. 23, 2009, news release, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; Oct. 23, 2009, teleconference with Thomas R. Frieden, M.D., M.P.H., director, U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Washington Post; Associated Press

Copyright©2009 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. IDFA Supports Obama Administrations Commitment to Encourage Schools to Provide More Low Fat Milk and Dairy Products in Schools
2. Arizona Medical Marijuana Policy Project, Sponsors of 2010 Medical Marijuana Ballot Initiative in Arizona, Cheer Obama Administration Action
3. President Barack Obama Joins President George H.W. Bush to Celebrate the 20th Anniversary of the Points of Light Volunteer Movement and Extend the Call of Service to the Nation
4. The Obamacare Alternative: 33 State Think Tanks Announce Patient-Centered Health Care Reforms
5. New Audio Briefing Explains Obama Administration's Workplace Law Priorities
6. Union Members Reject Key Tenets of "Obamacare" - According to Recent Zogby/O'Leary Poll
7. Rate Regulation for Health Insurance: Biden, Obama Administration Should Look to CAs Model Law Which Has Saved Drivers $62 Billion Since 1988
8. New Poll: Americans Still Confused by President Obamas Health Care Plan -- Siegel+Gale Survey Finds Dramatic Lack of Understanding of Basic Points in Plan, Even Among Democrats
9. Obama - Care Parody Takes Look Inside Realities of Universal Health Care Plan
10. Are Obama Administration Policies Undermining Global AIDS and Health Responses?
11. Obama Interrupted at University of Maryland by Pro life Moderate Yelling: Liar!
Post Your Comments:
(Date:11/25/2015)... , ... November 25, 2015 , ... Finnleo, a leader ... Eve on several models of traditional and far-infrared saunas. , For traditional ... is the most traditional Finnish sauna wood, and Finnleo uses only European Grade A ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dr. John Pierce, Medical Director at ... hair loss treatment with the Capillus272™ Pro laser therapy cap. FDA cleared for safety ... fuller hair, without the need for surgery, prescription pills, or topical foams. , ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... For the first time, Vitalalert is donating half ... ” campaign. The partnership between the two groups began in 2014 with Vitalalert pledging ... , MAP International was founded in 1954 and is an international Christian-based health organization ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... ... November 25, 2015 , ... Dental professionals who would like to ... are invited to attend Dr. Mark Iacobelli’s Advanced Implant Mentoring (AIM) CE course. Courses ... , As the co-founders of Advanced Implant Mentoring (AIM), Dr. Iacobelli and Dr. ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Crystal Lake, IL (PRWEB) , ... November 25, 2015 , ... ... pleased to announce a recent successful appellate decision obtained by Attorneys Francisco J. Botto ... the case Adcock v. Illinois Workers’ Compensation Comm’n, 2015 IL App (2d) 130884WC. , ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... 26, 2015 ... of the  "2016 Future Horizons and ... Surface Marker Testing Market: Supplier Shares, ... their offering.  --> ... the  "2016 Future Horizons and Growth ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  The total global healthcare industry is expected to grow ... Latin America has the highest projected growth at ... Japan ), is second with growth projected at 11.5%. ... healthcare expenditure. In 2013-2014, total government funded healthcare was nearly ... to 41.2% in 2013-2014. In real terms, out of pocket ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... WASHINGTON , Nov. 25, 2015  The ... Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), and the March of ... bipartisan Protecting Our Infants Act of 2015 ... the number of newborns born exposed to drugs, ... Since the bill,s introduction, all three organizations have ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: