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Younger Age of Severe Swine Flu Cases Worries Experts
Date:5/6/2009

of the country where they are seeing increases in disease and in parts of the country they are seeing decreases in disease. When you add that all up it may show some leveling off, but it doesn't give a sense of how dynamic the situation is," he said.

The World Health Organization is now reporting about 1,500 cases in 22 countries, with Canada, Spain and the UK having the most cases outside of the U.S. and Mexico.

Looking towards the possible re-emergence of the H1N1 flu next fall, U.S. experts are pondering who ought to get the swine flu shots and whether vaccine makers can make both 180 million doses of the regular seasonal flu vaccine and up to 600 million rounds of the new vaccine, the Postreported.

"We are moving forward with making a vaccine," Robin Robinson, a director with the Department of Health and Human Services who oversees pandemic response programs, told the Post. Robinson added that although a formal decision about the swine flu vaccine has not been made, if the government goes ahead, it would probably produce two doses for all Americans. If the threat diminishes, he said, health officials could decide to produce doses for only a portion of the population.

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.

Also 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.

This announcement marked a change from the previous guidance, which recommended that affected schools close for at least two weeks. The U.S. Education Department has said that more than 430 schools have been closed nationwide because of flu fears, affecting about 245,000 children.

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