H1N1 – The Science Does Not Support The Panic

Panic seems to be spreading faster than the H1N1 (swine) flu. Since the H1N1 strain was identified in late April of last year Egypt proposed killing all the pigs in the country and China was quarantining Mexican nationals without any sign that they might be sick (Mercola, 2009). Just yesterday I received a letter from the school district warning of large outbreaks in schools across the country advising parents to have their child immunized. What the letter doesn’t tell you is that the science doesn’t add up to the panic.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) publicly asserts that 36,000 Americans die every year from the flu. However, the CDC’s own official records show that only a few hundred (in the U.S.) die from influenza on an average year. This is where the scientific data seems to be misleading. (CDC, 2010)
A New York Times report (23 Nov 2004) further explains: “Another reason for these skewed figures is that the system for obtaining this death toll number is complex, imprecise and anonymous. In fact, in 2002, city health officials estimated there were roughly 2,500 deaths in New York caused by the flu virus. The actual number of deaths caused by the flu was two. Further, according to city health records, not a single death certificate from 2001 listed the flu as the culprit. Here’s where the numbers come from: The health department and the CDC start by looking at the average number of pneumonia deaths during a given period of time. If the flu is present at that time, the marked increases in the number of pneumonia deaths are noted. All deaths that exceed the initial average number of pneumonia deaths are classified under the flu. The annual influenza-caused deaths are a “best guess,” according to an epidemiologist with the New York City Health Department.” (Flu Deaths – Not As Many As We Are Often Told, 2004)
On June 11, 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a global pandemic of novel influenza A (H1N1) was underway by raising the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6. This action was a reflection of the spread of the new H1N1 virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus.
Another consideration is that doctors and nurses are among the least likely to be vaccinated. In fact, 70% of doctors and nurses do NOT get annual flu shots; 62% of healthcare workers do not get a flu vaccine.
The Reasons:
– They didn’t believe the vaccine would work.
– They believed their immune systems were strong enough to withstand exposure to the flu.
– They were concerned about the side effects.