Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Swine flu numbers inflated?

Apparently the reports coming out about the number of causes of swine flu may make things seem worse than they actually are...

With most cases diagnosed solely on symptoms and risk factors, the H1N1 flu epidemic may seem worse than it is. For example, on Sept. 22, this alarming headline came from Georgetown University in Washington D.C.: "H1N1 Flu Infects Over 250 Georgetown Students."

H1N1 flu can be deadly and an outbreak of 250 students would be an especially troubling cluster. However, the number of sick students came not from lab-confirmed tests but from "estimates" made by counting "students who went to the Student Health Center with flu symptoms, students who called the H1N1 hotline or the Health Center's doctor-on-call, and students who went to the hospital's emergency room."

Without lab testing, it's impossible to know how many of the students actually had H1N1 flu. But the statistical trend indicates it was likely much fewer than 250.

Oh no! What does this mean? Well people that think they have swine flu but done have it may elect to skip the vaccine because they think they're fine. However, since they didn't contract H1N1, they're still susceptible to it.

That's not good news by the way. More people could become infected largely due to misinformation. Somebody get me a breathing mask ASAP.

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