Now that the Swine Flu pandemic seems to have peaked in mid-October can we all relax? Vaccine is plentiful now, but if you haven't already gotten a shot, do you still need one? Back in October, I wrote about the difficulty of high-risk groups getting the scarce vaccine. Vaccine is now plentiful, and lessons from the 1957 pandemic suggest it's too soon to declare victory, and with readily available vaccine, now is the time to get vaccinated if you haven't already done so.
I have a form of Rheumatoid Arthritis, and the medications I take to reduce joint inflammation also compromise my immune system and make it difficult to fight off even minor infections. Back in October, even people in high-risk groups were having difficulty getting immunized for H1N1, due to the short supplies of the vaccine. I was finally able to get vaccinated in early December, when the vaccine became plentiful. I am happy to report that my grandchildren, and daughter who is a health-care worker also have been vaccinated.
My own un-scientific survey in my family indicates that apathy may be setting in. My brother-in-law and nephew recently spent several miserable days with Swine Flu, battling fever, vomiting, and diarrhea.Even my ex-husband, who is a doctor, recently had a nasty case of Swine Flu. He sheepishly admitted he hadn't gotten the vaccine.
According to the CDC, H1N1 peaked in the United States in mid-October, there are still a lot of flu cases being seen, and most of them are H1N1. In the 1957 pandemic, officials at the CDC declared victory in mid-winter, and result was a second wave of H1N1 deaths in March. So far deaths from the current outbreak of H1N1 have been 25% less than the 1957 outbreak, but that may be due to better treatments with anti-virals and better ventilators. The extreme cold weather may play a role also.