Navigation Links
U.S. Swine Flu Count Nears 1,900; Person-to-Person Transmission Now Common

Officials dismiss 'swine flu parties' as dangerous way to seek immunity

THURSDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- The number of confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu in the United States was approaching 1,900, federal health officials said Thursday, with most new cases now caused by person-to-person transmission and not some link to Mexico, as was the case when the outbreak began nearly two weeks ago.

"Only about 10 percent of confirmed cases have a travel history for Mexico," which is believed to be the source of the outbreak, Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during an afternoon teleconference. "This indicates ongoing transmission in communities. We would expect that as this [virus] travels more around the country that we are going to see that number go down. While there may have been introduction from travel to Mexico, the spread that's ongoing does not require travel to Mexico," he added.

Besser said there are now 1,823 probable and confirmed cases in 44 states, with most of the infections mild and leading to a quick recovery. The median age of hospitalized individuals with swine flu is 15.

He also said the CDC plans to stop concentrating on reporting numbers of cases and start concentrating on where flu activity is most pronounced in the country. "At some point reporting on individual cases no longer has value from a public health perspective, but knowing where in the country we are seeing large amounts of flu activity does remain important," he added.

Besser also addressed two other significant topics at the teleconference:

  • The H1N1 swine flu, thought to be a new virus, may have first infected people in the United States back in 2005.
  • People may be holding "swine flu parties," where individuals knowingly expose themselves to someone with the flu, in the belief that gaining some immunity now may offer greater protection next winter if the swine flu returns in a more virulent form. Besser dismissed the idea as a "big mistake."

On Thursday, the New England Journal of Medicine released early a study by CDC researchers that said 11 cases of infection with a swine flu virus similar to that involved in the current outbreak have been recorded in the United States since 2005. These viral strains were so-called "triple-reassortant" viruses, meaning that -- like the current H1N1 strain -- they contained genes from bird, pig and human viruses.

All but two of the cases involved people who had direct or indirect contact with pigs, but "in another patient, human-to-human transmission was suspected," wrote a team led by Dr. Lyn Finelli of the CDC's Influenza Division. The patients were typically young -- with an average age of 10 years -- and four of the 11 cases were severe enough to require hospitalization, with two needing invasive mechanical ventilation. Four patients were given the antiviral medication Tamiflu and all eventually recovered, according to the report.

Cases of this type of influenza H1 virus appeared to pick up more recently, with eight of the 11 cases being reported by the CDC after June 2007, the researchers noted. The cases were spotted via the CDC's routine "passive" flu surveillance systems and additional but unidentified cases may have occurred, the experts said.

The findings suggest that "all human infections with influenza viruses of animal origin, even those that appear to be clinically mild, warrant a thorough public health investigation to assess the epidemiological risk to humans," the researchers said.

At the teleconference, Besser also discussed reports of so-called swine flu parties.

"Having swine flu H1N1 parties is a big mistake," he said. "This is a new emerging infection and we are learning more each day, but how an individual person will be impacted by the infection is not something we know. It is a big mistake. It is putting individuals and children at risk and CDC does not recommend that people follow that course."

As the outbreak continues, the CDC continues to study various aspects of the health threat to gain a better understanding of the virus, how it is spread, as well as better ways to test for it, Besser said. The research under way includes: finding a rapid diagnostic test; understanding "viral shedding" (how long people can pass the virus to others); determining how the virus is transmitted in households; and learning how well antiviral drugs work.

Testing has found that the swine flu virus remains susceptible to two common antiviral drugs, Tamiflu and Relenza, according to the CDC.

On Tuesday, U.S. health officials said the outbreak of swine flu appears similar to the seasonal flu in its severity, so schools across the nation should remain open and any schools that did close should reopen.

The death earlier this week of a woman in Texas, the first U.S. resident to die from the swine flu, "reminds us that influenza can be a very serious infection, and it's one we need to continue to take very seriously," Besser said Wednesday.

According to published reports, Texas health officials said the death of 33-year-old schoolteacher Judy Trunnell was apparently not directly caused by H1N1 swine flu, noting that she also had unspecified "chronic underlying conditions."

Last week, a 23-month-old boy from Mexico, who also had underlying health problems, died from the swine flu illness in a Houston hospital. He was the first fatality in the United States from the current swine flu outbreak.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization (WHO) said that as many as 2 billion people around the globe could become infected by swine flu, if the current outbreak turns into a pandemic.

A published report Wednesday said the WHO could decide as early as next week to call for international production of an A H1N1 swine flu vaccine. The head of the agency's initiative for vaccine research told the Canadian Press that such a decision could force some vaccine manufacturers to make some lots that do not include a vaccine against influenza B viruses.

The CP also said that an expert panel will meet May 14 to review the available science on the swine flu and advise WHO Director General Margaret Chan on whether to call on vaccine manufacturers to make a vaccine to protect against the new H1N1 virus.

On Thursday, the World Health Organization was reporting almost 2,400 confirmed cases of swine flu in 24 countries, with Canada, Spain and the United Kingdom having the most cases outside of Mexico and the United States.

There were 1,112 laboratory-confirmed cases in Mexico, the source of the outbreak, including 42 deaths. The United States had reported 896 confirmed cases, including two deaths, the WHO said.

Meanwhile in Mexico City, the government has now allowed all businesses to reopen, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. This includes sports arenas, movie theaters and restaurants. However, businesses must screen for those who might be sick and surgical masks will still be mandatory for workers and customers, the AP said.

High schools and universities reopened Thursday after a two-week closure intended to limit infections. Younger children returned to school on Monday, the news service said.

U.S. Human Cases of H1N1 Flu Infection
(As of May 7, 2009, 11:00 AM ET)
States # of
Alabama 4  
Arizona 48  
California 106  
Colorado 17  
Connecticut 4  
Delaware 38  
Florida 5  
Georgia 3  
Hawaii 3  
Idaho 1  
Illinois 204  
Indiana 15  
Iowa 5  
Kansas 7  
Kentucky* 2  
Louisiana 7  
Maine 4  
Maryland 4  
Massachusetts 71  
Michigan 9  
Minnesota 1  
Missouri 4  
Nebraska 4  
Nevada 5  
New Hampshire 2  
New Jersey 7  
New Mexico 8  
New York 98  
North Carolina 7  
Ohio 5  
Oklahoma 1  
Oregon 15  
Pennsylvania 2  
Rhode Island 2  
South Carolina
Utah 8  
Washington 23  
TOTAL (41) 896 cases 2 deaths
*Case is resident of Ky. but currently hospitalized in Ga.
Source: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

More information

For more on swine flu, visit the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

SOURCES: May 7, 2009, teleconference with Richard Besser, M.D., acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; May 6, 2009, news release, U.S. Food and Drug Administration; May 5, 2009, teleconference with Kathleen Sebelius, secretary, U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and Richard Besser, M.D., acting director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; Associated Press; Canadian Press

Copyright©2009 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:
Related Image:
U.S. Swine Flu Count Nears 1,900; Person-to-Person Transmission Now Common
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... According to an ... changing the way that they are handling security in light of the recent terrorist ... presence in an attempt to stop an attack from reaching U.S. soil. Especially around ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... A team of Swiss doctors has released ... Surviving Mesothelioma has just posted the findings on the website. Click here to ... cases of 136 mesothelioma patients who were treated with chemotherapy followed by EPP surgery. ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... ... filthy the toilets were," said an inventor from Hillside, N.J. "Many people catch ... seat cover so that individuals will always be protected from germs." , He ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ... November 27, 2015 , ... The ... of USA Today in Atlanta, Dallas, New York, Minneapolis, South Florida, with a ... component is distributed nationally, through a vast social media strategy and across a ...
(Date:11/27/2015)... ANGELES, CA (PRWEB) , ... November 27, 2015 , ... MPWH, the No.1 Herpes-only dating ... of 30 (see Table 1-1 ). More than 3.7 billion people under the ... virus type 1 (HSV-1), according to WHO's first global estimates of HSV-1 infection . ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:11/26/2015)... Nov. 26, 2015 Research and Markets ... the "2016 Future Horizons and Growth Strategies ... Supplier Shares, Country Segment Forecasts, Competitive Intelligence, Emerging ... --> --> This ... the Italian therapeutic drug monitoring market, including emerging ...
(Date:11/25/2015)...  Amgen (NASDAQ: AMGN ) today announced the ... the United States (U.S.) Food and ... to Humira ® (adalimumab). Amgen believes this submission ... FDA and represents Amgen,s first BLA submission using the ... M.D., executive vice president of Research and Development at ...
(Date:11/25/2015)... Nov. 25, 2015  ARKRAY USA ... to provide evidence demonstrating the accuracy of its blood ... on Insulin Resistance, Diabetes and Cardiovascular Disease in ... the Company,s GLUCOCARD ® 01 meter and the ... requirements. The ability to accurately measure glucose levels in ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: