H1N1 deaths increase, vaccines running low
(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
US News and World Report said yesterday (Oct 30, 2009) that 114 deaths, from 2009 H1N1, have occured in children, with 19 of those having happened in the last week (read more). With the number of deaths rising as more are exposed to the flu, and limited supplies of vaccine, there are many concerns and questions in people's minds. Today, in Allentown, PA, the lines for the vaccine wrapped outside the building and around the corner with people arriving 2 hours before scheduled to get in line to receive the vaccine.
One of the questions people have is why H1N1 seems to have no rhyme and reason when it comes to those who die from it. KSL.com reported, in an article By John Daley, on the death of a 52 year old University teacher: "State health officials say it's only a small subset of those who get sick with H1N1 who die. Those fatal cases often involve the one-two punch of the H1N1 virus combined with a bacterial infection, just like the illness that claimed the life of a popular Weber State University teacher this week.
The death of 52-year-old math teacher Diane Pugmire left colleagues like Dixie Blackinton stunned, because Diane seemed so healthy.
"I had no idea she was sick," Blackinton said.
After taking a nap Monday, Diane complained of difficulty breathing, was taken to the hospital and soon was fighting to survive."
Dr. Anne Schuchat who is the director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, is quoted By Steven Reinberg of US News and World Report as saying: "Among adults hospitalized with the H1N1 swine flu, 45 percent did not have a pre-existing medical problem and 6 percent were pregnant. Among hospitalized children, 5.8 percent had sickle anemia or another blood disorder...The most common underlying conditions [for children] were asthma and chronic lung disease, neuromuscular diseases and sickle cell or other blood disorders (read more)."
So, why are people who appear to be healthy dying so suddenly? Research by the Imperial College London say that the virus from the H1N1 flu goes deeper into the lungs than the seasonal flu suggesting this is one of the reasons it causes more severe problems (read more). A study done by University of Michigan also suggests that those who have a serious case of swine flu are at a greater risk for blood clots in the lungs (for more info).
Most cases of H1N1 are mild but as more and more people are exposed the number of serious cases will increase because there will be more cases of the flu overall. In more serious cases most people's symptoms increase over four days before they are hospitalized but then they become critically ill very quickly, generally going into ICU within 48 hours of being hospitalized.
For a link to a video that shows how the virus attacks the body click here.