Swine Flu to Hit Schools Hard

Janet Napolitano, Homeland Security Secretary, is expecting the swine flu virus to come back with a vengance in the Fall season after the start of school and before a vaccine becomes available. School begins in August, and the eariliest a vaccine would be available for widespread use is October. She expects that this flu season will be severe due to the fact that this virus is so new, no-one yet has an immunity.

In 1918, the swine flu virus killed almost 700,000 people in the United States. That pales in comparison to the worldwide deaths which were at least 50 million. Napalitano thinks that the pandemic may kill as many as 70,000 people and sicken up to 2 million in the world. This is more in line with statistics of the 1957 swine flu epidemic.

On average, around 40,000 people die and a few hundred thousand end up in the hospital in most normal flu seasons. For now it is a wait and see game.

When the flu vaccine becomes available it will likely go to those most at risk such as the elderly, pregnant women and babies, even though this flu has been shown to have the most devastating effect on those between the ages of 5 and 49.

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