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Unusually high influenza death reports pass 'epidemic threshold'


With eighteen pediatric deaths attributed to the flu in the last week of October, the level of deaths reported from those with pneumonia and influenza continues to be, proportionally, "above the epidemic threshold," the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention announced Friday. Eighty-five children, age four and under, have died from the flu - seasonal or otherwise - since the season began in late August, five weeks earlier than usual.

Dr. Toral Shah examines Sammi Jiminez, 4, in a tent clinic where patients with
flu symptoms are treated outside the emergency room at Dell Children's
Hospital in Austin, Texas, Sept. 28, 2009. (AP Photo/Harry Cabluck)

Though the month ended with reports of influenza like illness down from previous weeks, "ILI continues to be higher than what is seen during the peak of most regular flu seasons," the CDC said.

"It’s still way higher than we would see at this time of year, even though we had a slight downtick in that statistic," Dr. Anne Schuchat, Director, National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases told reporters at the CDC, Friday. According to the agency, people with ILI symptoms are visiting their doctors "at much higher levels than what is expected for this time of the year."

Of the tens of thousands of ILI diagnoses that have come in to the CDC this season, 99 percent of them have been Influenza A, and of those that have been subtyped, nearly all have been the H1N1 virus.

For more info: has a category of articles from many perspectives, about H1N1/swine flu.
See the latest Health and Human Services updates on H1N1 and seasonal flu activity at
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  • juniusxv 5 years ago

    epidemic? so if we're waiting on the feds to give us our vaccinations we're toast! well done, sohealius!

  • Linda 5 years ago

    This epidemic is not much different than most yearly influenza empidemics. Usually 20,000 to about 70,000 die from influenza complications in the US each year. We expect this year to be closer to 100,000 with more in the younger age groups. 2/3 of the children who have died thus far have chronic disease making them more susceptible. There is also some suggestion that if you take the influenza vaccine instead of getting sick and having natural immunity that gives you life long protection against that strain and partial protection against similar strains, that you won't get the life long protection. To prevent a future more deadly pandemic as the h1n1 over the year evolves we need to let as many normal people as possible get the H1N1 flud and build up life long immunity to it and similar strains. The vaccine should be used first for children with chronic disease and pregnant woman who are the most vulnerable to complications like bacterial pneumonia and sepsis.

  • Geeshgirl 5 years ago

    Linda, how do you feel about the H1N1 FluMist? Do you think that it would grant natural immunity?

  • Skeptic 5 years ago

    Is .02% death rate really any worse than the typical seasonal flu death rate?
    4000 deaths and 22 million infected.