Tuesday, April 28, 2009


With everyone freaking out about Swine Flu, it may be oddly comforting to know that 36,000 people in the US die each year from regular flu.
The number of deaths caused by influenza and respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) in the United States per year is substantially higher than previously estimated, according to a Jan 7, 2003, news release from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Using improved statistical models, CDC researchers estimate that an average of 36,000 people die from complications of influenza each year, compared to a previous estimate of 20,000. Another 11,000 people per year die from RSV, which causes upper and lower respiratory tract infections, primarily in young children and older adults. Researchers believe that the aging US population and the circulation of influenza A, the most virulent strain in recent years, are among the reasons for this increase.
The report, by the way, is from 2003 and not something issued to get people to climb down from today's hysteria.

1 comment:

Mark said...

Here's the rub - Those stats are for garden variety human influenza viruses. The Mexico virus is a hybrid of human influenza, avian (bird flu, anyone?) and two varieties of swine flu.

Right now it seems to be fairly mild. But I think the fear is that something so hybridized may mutate faster and "farther" than normal. On the plus side, it may mutate itself into nothingness, or it may mutate into something worse than 1918.

To me the worst thing is the sleepy approach the feds are taking, especially compared to other governments. Hell, the Cubans have suspended travel with Mexico. We give people from Mexico a brochure on hand washing when they cross the border.

It's not time to re-read The Stand just yet, but you may want to pull it out of the attic.