Wednesday, May 6, 2009

CDC Daily Briefing

Dr. Richard Besser, Acting Director, CDC: "As of 11 a.m. today, we are reporting 1487 probable and confirmed cases in 44 states ... In terms of the age range the median age for cases is 16 years with a range of 3 months to 81 years."

Of these cases, there have been 2 deaths, and 35 confirmed hospitalizations and 17 probable hospitalizations. Besser also noted that, of those hospitalized, "seven of them had known conditions that would put them at risk for more severe infection".

"We are continuing to see virus spread in the United States and around the globe. The majority of the confirmed cases in this country are in younger people. And it's important that people have respect for this virus, because it does cause severe disease, hospitalization and death ... Everything we've seen to date leaves us with the understanding that we need to remain vigilant."

He noted that it is unclear what kind of underlying conditions put people at greater risk (they are gathering additional information on this now) and why younger people have been most affected thus far - whether this is a result of the virus OR if it is due to the fact that many of the initial US case were on spring break in Mexico (younger people are by default more likely to travel).

Risk to Health Care Workers?
"We are working with Texas and California (to assist the) investigation team there to look in particular at the issue of health care worker transmission. We want to see what are the dynamics of transmission, are there certain practices putting people at risk and if so, what can be done to tailor the guidance that we currently are providing in that area."

Increased Risk for Pregnant Women:
"I want to put a little focus today on the issue of pregnancy and disease risk. So far, we are aware of six confirmed and five probable cases of H1N1 infection involving pregnant women. However, pregnancy is a risk factor, a known risk factor for known disease."

See Guidance for Clinicians and Pregnant Women on the CDC Website:
Pregnant Women Educators:
Pregnant Women Info:
Info for Clinicians:

Q: The officials at WHO announced today they would be convening experts to consider wholesale production of a new implemented [H1N1] virus [vaccine] as well as halting production of seasonal flu vaccine.

A (Dr. Besser): "That's the body that helps inform them whether it's time to move phases of a pandemic. And that's body that will help inform them as well in terms of the global position on vaccination. And the U.S. government has participation on that committee ... Here in the United States, we are pushing forward with production of seasonal flu vaccine and that's moving forward very aggressively."

Further, US health officials will determine later whether to move from seasonal to H1N1 vaccine production, but are first trying to "clear the decks" of seasonal flu vaccine that needs to be manufactured before possibly moving to H1N1, given the fact that 36,000 US citizens die each year from seasonal flu and we already know that vaccine will definitely be needed.

CDC Briefing Transcript:

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