H1N1 Seems Much Milder Than Expected

There’s good news on the H1N1 front; it seems that the pandemic’s severity is less than initially feared. In fact, the worldwide numbers so far show that overall mortality is much less than the 1% we would see in the seasonal flu. There’s a good review of this from NPR.

In other good news, those who worry about the vaccine can also relax a bit, as the latest word from the CDC is that the H1N1 vaccine is as safe as the seasonal flu vaccine. Many Beijingers are still in the process of getting this at local hospitals or other centers, and I continue to encourage it for all those who desire it, and especially those most vulnerable or those adults who take care of children under 6 months of age. As we all know, the vaccination rate for H1N1 is fairly low in most countries, but fortunately that isn’t posing much of a problem. I just discovered a fascinating review which shows how the seasonal flu vaccination rate is also never very high except for those over 50. Here’s an interesting graph from the article:

As far as on-the-ground tales, my clinic has definitely seen a lot of flu these last few weeks, but I already sense that this latest wave is passing, and I haven’t seen any serious complications. Usually people have an initial high fever up to 40 but this is only for about 3 days. Most also have severe fatigue and headache, and many have diarrhea. But most feel much better even in 3-5 days. Let’s all be thankful that our worst fears were not realized!

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