15,510 Cases of Influenza A(H1N1) Infection, Including 99 Deaths World-Wide

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.

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1,085 cases of Influenza A (H1N1) Infection World-wide

I came home to find CNN putting up soothing articles,  like “When a Pandemic Isn’t a Pandemic” and “Swine Flu No Worse Than Regular Flu.”

Apparently, you can have a pandemic without a large number of deaths.  Or at least, that’s what the WHO is saying now.  Before, the WHO’s definition of a pandemic, which appeared on their website,  said

“that a pandemic flu causes “enormous numbers of deaths and illness. After a CNN reporter pointed this out, WHO spokeswoman Natalie Boudou called back to say the definition was in error and had been pulled from the WHO Web site.”

“It was a mistake, and we apologize for the confusion,” she said. “(That definition) was put up a while ago and paints a rather bleak picture and could be very scary.”

The correct definition is that “pandemic” indicates outbreaks in at least two of the regions into which WHO divides the world, but has nothing to do with the severity of the illnesses or the number of deaths.”

Now, to me, this sounds like the WHO still isn’t really sure what they want the definition of a pandemic to be.  It seems very important to the WHO and other health agencies to constantly remind people that this new virus certainly isn’t shaping up to be like the 1918 killer virus.  I have to wonder when, and not if, there will be another pandemic like the one in 1918.

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