“Germ Factories”

By now you may have heard that swine flu could infect up to 40% of the United States. Health officials say flu cases are likely to explode once school begins and serve as “germ factories.”

“The estimates are based on a flu pandemic from 1957, which killed nearly 70,000 in the United States but was not as severe as the infamous Spanish flu pandemic of 1918-19. The number of deaths and illnesses from the new swine flu virus would drop if the pandemic peters out or if efforts to slow its spread are successful, said a CDC spokesman.”

“The World Health Organization says as many as 2 billion people could become infected in the next two years — nearly a third of the world population.”

“Swine flu has been an escalating concern in Britain and some other European nations, where the virus’ late arrival has grabbed attention and some officials at times have sounded alarmed.”

Follow PlagueGirl on Twitter!

2,254 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) Infection World-wide

Underlying conditions like asthma, diabetes, heart disease or tuberculosis appear to put swine flu victims at greater risk of hospitalization or death, doctors from the WHO and the CDC said.

Some of the serious cases involve healthy young people, and the reasons for that are still unexplained. Many of the patients went into rapid decline and died of viral pneumonia, not bacterial pneumonia, said Dr. Sylvie Briand, a W.H.O. flu expert. Viral pneumonia may be a result of the “cytokine storm,” in which the body’s own immune reaction to a new virus floods the lungs with fluid. It can progress faster and be harder to treat than bacterial pneumonia.

The cytokine storm was thought to be one of the factors that contributed to the deadliness of the 1918 pandemic.   A cytokine storm describes an immune system that has over-reacted and is damaging the body, causing failure of multiple organ systems.  This would explain why an unusually large number of young people died during the 1918 flu; they had the healthiest immune systems.

Follow PlagueGirl on Twitter!