Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The Virus Formerly Known as Swine Flu: An Update

Just a quick post to note the first U.S. death due to swH1N1, and to link to the latest CDC updates for clinicians and labs about identifying suspected patients and about testing them for swine influenza. As it relates to my post yesterday, CDC is sticking with the recommendation to test only those with suspected swH1N1, as defined by either close contact with a confirmed case, or travel to or residence in an area with confirmed cases. This seems right to me, the difficulty will be in limiting or prioritizing testing, especially in areas where cases have been identified and testing volume is so high that it could exceed lab capacity (at least until testing becomes more widely available).

I realize there is now some controversy brewing about what is the most accurate and yet most politically/diplomatically correct way to refer to this virus. For the time being, I will continue to refer to it as swine flu or swine influenza (H1N1), or in shorthand as swH1N1. I predict the media and public health officials will eventually settle on “North American flu”.

Addendum: For today at least, the name appears to be "swine-origin influenza".

1 comment:

  1. OK, so we have a confirmed death in the US. Apparently, this is more important to Americans than 100 deaths in Mexico. One comment i've seen compares this one death to the thousand annual deaths due to seasonal flu. Not very comforting, IMO. Perhaps we should all stop driving cars, which kill about 45,000 per year in the US. I'd be interested in mature thinking on this one vs. thousand statistic.

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