Saturday, July 11, 2009

Hysteria - again

The hysteria over swine flu appears to have ebbed.
The initial hysteria (mostly created by media misunderstanding) seems not to have effected to many people, yahoo recently reported that the US led the world in Swine Flu cases, there does not seem to be the initial hysteria at this point but why is this so?
It has to do with the shear volume of testing done in the US as part of routine surveillance.
What do the statistics really say?
I will use Stamford since I have access to all of that data.
in 2009 we have a total of 197 reported cases of influenza, this is more than all the other years and almost 2/5 of the total cases recorded since 2002 (7 years). This is all because of testing!
Influenza A (the normal one) accounts for 60% of the cases, H1N1 Novel (swine flu) accounts for 27%. There other types that are also being reported.
In May and June (when we began looking for the swine flu) 58% were normal influenza (even though it is NOT flu season). 37% were the H1N1 Novel (swine flu).
So cases are here, there is no need to panic or get hysterical.
The average age it affects is mostly of health young adults (~21 years) and it is not causing deaths (at least in Stamford).
The reality is that we are really looking hard and finding out more than ever before!

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