The number of confirmed cases of the disease rose above 1,200 in Australia on Monday and the virus is no longer restricted to schools and other institutions in that country, suggesting that a community-wide spread has begun. Such a spread in a region outside North America is the primary criterion for raising the alert level to Phase 6…
…they are concerned that infections continue in North America and Europe, even though the traditional flu season has ended in the Northern Hemisphere. “The disease patterns are not what we see from seasonal influenza,” he said. That suggests that the virus has greater capability for spread than does the seasonal flu virus.
The majority of the infections have been in people younger than 60, which is also different from seasonal flu. That suggests, some experts said, that older people may have been exposed to a different swine flu virus in the past that has conferred some immunity.
About half of the people who have died from the virus were previously healthy, with no underlying medical conditions. “That is one of the observations that has given us the most concern,” he said. “We don’t know why they died and why other people recovered. We are looking for clues.”
Swine flu cases continue to rise and while many people may not see what the difference is between this and the regular flu, the LA Times points out the flu pandemics have a history of foreshocks.
Scientists think the spring swine flu epidemic may be a “herald wave” of what’s to come. In 1918, a milder wave of flu cases occurred in late winter and early spring, before the deadly pandemic surge in the fall of that year. In 1957, Asian flu was causing unremarkable illness in China, before landing on American soil for the summer outbreaks and a severe winter season.
Another common feature of past flu pandemics is the age groups of the victims. The CDC says that seasonal flu contributes to some 36,000 deaths in the U.S. each year and 90% of those are senior citizens 65 or older. History has shown flu pandemics killing higher proportions of younger adults.
In the end, only time will tell, and hopefully it will tell us soon with winter moving into the Southern part of the world.