Kissing under the mistletoe might be back on this Christmas, as long as whoever you’re kissing is a willing participant.
That’s because the threat of Swine Flu putting a damper on the holidays may be fading, according to Quest Diagnostics Inc. (NYSE:DGX), which says that reports of the H1N1 influenza virus are down 75 percent since an October peak.
The Madison, N.J.-based company’s “H1N1 Testing in America: End of the Second Wave?” report follows similar news put out in November by Quest, which said then that Swine Flu peaked in October.
“Our data are a welcome indication that H1N1 may not be the health threat during the holidays that it has been throughout the fall,” said Quest’s medical director for infectious diseases, Jay M. Lieberman, M.D., according to a press release.
But the company warned against assuming that the threat has passed completely, citing evidence that four out of every 10 school-age children, tested as recently as last week, were infected with the virus.
And influenza virus outbreaks tend to come in waves, with the first H1N1 wave starting last May and a second wave that started in August lasting until the end of October. Quest data for the weeks ending Oct. 28 and Dec. 9 showed positive test rates fell by 75 percent.
Other findings in the report included:
- Children ages five to 14 continue to experience the highest percentage of H1N1 positive test results compared to negative results, with a positivity rate of close to 40 percent.
- Nearly every region experienced declines of 60 percent or more in positive test results during the two weeks ended Dec. 9, compared to the two weeks ended Nov. 25. The largest decline in positive test results occurred in the mid-Atlantic states of Pennsylvania, Maryland, Delaware, Virginia, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.
- More than 98 percent of positive influenza A specimens are positive for 2009 H1N1 influenza.