Friday, May 15, 2009

CDC Press Briefing

Case Update: Geographic Clustering in SW and Pacific NW
The fourth death was reported today in Arizona; the individual reportedly had an underlying health/respiratory condition.
  • Most H1N1 cases among people aged 5 to 25 years.
  • Hospitalizations (~1.4% of cases) are among vulnerable persons with underlying medical conditions.
  • Particular clustering of cases in the Pacific NW and in the SW; >10 states have continued transmission and increased influenza activity.
  • The proximate cause of death in people that are dying 'from' H1N1 seems to be viral pneumonia, a direct infection of the lower respiratory tract caused by the flu virus. (Note: still very few tissue samples and specimens from fatalities and this may change)
Virus Mutations and A Second Wave?
CDC has not seen any mutations of the virus toward more virulence at this point. CDC urged the community to be prepared for the return of the seasonal flu season in the fall and to continue using appropriate hygiene. CDC and WHO are monitoring the southern hemisphere's seasonal flu season for:
  • Severity (and changes in virulence) and spread of infection (clusters & contagiousness)
  • Characterizing genetic markers of the H1N1 virus and looking for antiviral resistance or mutations
  • Tracking number and location of people hospitilized for severe acute respiratory infection (SARI) & estimates of ILI prevalence (differences from normal flu seasons, etc.)
Downgrading travel precautions for Mexico: No longer asking people to delay travel to Mexico, but for those at-risk individuals (with underlying medical conditions, >65, pregnant women) to take additional precautions while traveling.

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