Welcome! We regret to inform you that the Injury Board National News Desk has been discontinued. Feel free to browse around and enjoy our previously published articles, or visit The Injury Blog Network for the latest in personal injury news.

Swine Flu Update: 4,000 Deaths, Paralysis in Teen

Posted by Jane Akre
Thursday, November 12, 2009 11:41 AM EST
Category: Major Medical
Tags: Swine Flu, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, H1N1, Influenza, Public Health, Guillain-Barre Syndrome, National Vaccine Information Center

4,000 Deaths are attributed to swine flu says the CDC in this updated guestimate. A VA teen comes downwith GBS, a rare side effect.

LEARN MORE

IMAGE SOURCE: MSNBC Web site/ image of Jordan McFarland

CDC Says These Are Actual Numbers

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that since April there have been at least 4,000 swine flu deaths reported in the U.S. – about four times the estimate previously used.

That number includes deaths from related pneumonia and bacterial infections. Until now the CDC had put the guestimate at 1,000.

NBC’s Dr. Nancy Snyderman, chief medical editor, tells her audience this morning that the reporting data is catching up to the actual numbers of flu cases since April. She encourages the flu vaccine as well as most other childhood vaccinations and assures her audience they are safe.

Dr. Snyderman has been criticized for holding dual roles as a broadcast medical correspondent while working for Johnson & Johnson, a conflict-of-interest which reportedly contributed to her dismissal from ABC News.

Availability

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) has just received FDA approval for its H1N1 swine flu vaccine. The 7.6 million doses will be produced at a facility in Quebec and will begin shipping vials next month to fill the U.S. order by the end of the year. GSK is one among five vaccine makers to eventually produce a total of 250 million doses of vaccine.

Sanofi Pastuer promises to meet production by years’ end for 75 million doses. Novartis says expectations were too high but it’s working quickly.

Death Rates

A newly published study in The Lancet finds that while babies and young people are most likely to get sick from swine flu, the elderly have higher death rates.

Researchers looked at more than 63,000 cases in Mexico. 10 percent of those ages 70 and older who got sick died compared to 0.9 percent of those ages 20 to 29. Among those who were vaccinated the risk of infection fell by 35 percent.

Teen Suffers Serious Reaction

A Virginia teen has suffered a rare illness after the swine flu shot.

While the CDC says there is no link, Jordan McFarland, 14, was hospitalized with Guillain-Barre syndrome 18 hours after receiving the H1N1 vaccination.

The boy, a high school athlete, is in a wheelchair suffering from severe headaches, muscle weakness and spasms. GBS attacks muscles through the body’s own immune system causing weakness, paralysis and sometimes death.

He will need to use a walker and have extensive physical therapy.

The CDC says it’s gathered five reports of GBS in people after receiving the swine flu vaccine in addition to Jordan’s case. In 1976, about one case of GBS was seen in every 100,000 people vaccinated against the swine flu.

GBS is the most severe adverse reaction being tracked by the CDC so far, among 1,700 reports of reactions.

Consumers Should Know

In public health the risk-benefit ratio is considered when pursing any public policy. The National Vaccine Information Center’s Barbara Lo Fisher says that assuming any side effect is a coincidence may discourage doctors and hospitals from reporting adverse events in a timely manner.

Doctors are supposed to report adverse events to the government’s VAERS (vaccine adverse event reporting system) system, but it is a voluntary system and there are no sanctions for not reporting, making it difficult to get a handle on any side effects.

For example, Jordan’s family was advised by CDC officials to report Jordan’s case themselves. The CDC includes GBS in its list of potential side effects but says since 1976, “flu vaccines have not been clearly linked to GBS.”

Fisher is encouraging tougher reporting requirements to get a true picture of any side-effects of vaccinating. She believes as little as one percent of actual events is being reported.

The CDC reports side effects of the H1N1 vaccine include fainting, headache, fever, nausea, life-threatening allergic reaction, though very rare.

People who have an allergic reaction to eggs should not be vaccinated since the formulations are grown in egg. #


5 Comments

Posted by gandolph
Thursday, November 12, 2009 12:50 PM EST

4 times more deaths than previously estimated?! They also revised their unconfirmed cases about 2 weeks ago. For a look at the number of confirmed cases vs time, see:
LINK

Posted by Lee
Thursday, November 12, 2009 1:11 PM EST

They keep saying rare, but in Sweden and Norway it has been certainly happening.
This is because of the awful Pandemrix vaccine from GSK.
For stacks of videos covering the effects of these vaccines that I've covered in recent days and last three weeks or so, see:
LINK

Anonymous User
Posted by Sheran Benerth
Friday, November 13, 2009 3:39 AM EST

GBS case: Mr. Martinez, currently a patient at Methodist Hosp., San Antonio, TX.

Anonymous User
Posted by VICKIE
Sunday, November 15, 2009 10:18 AM EST

I AM TRYING TO FIND OUT JUST WHAT THE SIDE EFFECTS OF THE H1N1 VACCINE ARE. OUT OF THE SIX OF US THAT RECEIVED THE VACCINE ONE HAS DIARRHEA, LACK OF APPETITE, AND MALAISE. ONE HAS LACK OF APPETITE AND MALAISE. AND I HAVE LACK OF APPETITE AND MUSCLE ACHES EVEN AFTER THREE DAYS AFTER RECEIVING THIS VACCINE. MY QUESTION IS SHOULD THIS STILL BE GOING ON? ANY HELP WITH THIS WOULD BE GREATLY APPRECIATED.

Anonymous User
Posted by M.H
Sunday, November 15, 2009 12:09 PM EST

If you do not choose to take the H1N1 vaccine what are your chances of catching the flu? My family and I have already taken the seasonal flu shot in October. Should we still consider taking the H1N1 vaccine?

Comments for this article are closed.

About the National News Desk

Our mission is to seek the complete truth and provide a full and fair account of the events and issues that surround personal safety, accident prevention, and injury recovery.  We are committed to serving the public with honesty and integrity in these efforts.

Hurt in an accident? Contact an Injury Board member

Subscribe to Blog Updates

Enter your email address if you would like to receive email notifications when comments are made on this post.

Email address

Subscribe

RSS Feed

Add the National News Desk to your favorite RSS reader

Add to Google Reader Add to myYahoo Add to myMSN Add to Bloglines Add to Newsgator Add to Netvibes Add to Pageflakes