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CDC head warns public health agencies of flu season ahead


The H1N1influenza virus is what most public health workers "will be dealing with over the next weeks and months," according to Dr. Thomas Frieden, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

CDC Director, Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, MD, MPH
(Photo Credit: CDC/NY City Department of Health)

Frieden made his remarks Monday, to the plenary session of the 2009 Public Health Information Network Conference, being held this week in Atlanta. The medical professionals, scientists and electronic information specialists attending the PHIN conference, he said, could expect an "early flu season" this year, due to the continuing outbreak of the H1N1 pandemic.

The spread of the virus, he said, "requires surveillance of data, which requires informatics" to help track the population and the toll H1N1 will take on it. In the field of public health, informatics, as defined by the Universtiy of Virginia Health System, "is the science that underlies the academic investigation and practical application of computing and communications technology to healthcare, health education and biomedical research." It is also PHIN's raison d'etre.

As an example of what some investigation of the data has uncovered, Frieden pointed to a report that notes that patients with an "underlying [medical] condition" are more likely to be hospitalized, and more likely to die, from complications resulting from H1N1 infection.

For more info: has an entire topic page with links to swine flu stories.

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