The Swine Flu pandemic picked up its pace during the early summer, a time when the influenza virus usually lets up a bit, the Wall Street Journal reported (subscription).
And the H1N1 virus might cause a more severe illness than other flu bugs, according to a study of ferrets by CDC scientists. The good news is that it might be less easily transmitted than other strains.
There were reports of nearly 6,300 new cases in the United States during the week of June 14-20, more than in any other week since the pandemic broke out in April, according to the agency.
U.S. government officials and manufacturers are gearing up to produce 600 million H1N1 vaccine doses, hoping to have 60 million on hand ahead of an expected surge when flu season begins in earnest this fall.
“But federal officials haven’t decided whether to go ahead definitively with the campaign, determined who would get vaccinated, or worked out logistics for carrying out a campaign alongside seasonal-flu vaccinations,” the journal reported.
The agency has received reports of 27,717 probable and laboratory-confirmed cases in the U.S. and 127 deaths, but estimates that more than one million people have had the disease. The supposition for the discrepancy is that many doon’t seek medical care for the condition, as they may have mild cases or even be unaware of the infection.
There have been 59,814 confirmed cases in 113 countries and territories and 263 deaths, according to the World Health Organization.