As I recommend the Swine flu vaccine in the office, most healthy adults tell me, “I’ve never had the flu, I have no medical problems, so why should I take it?” The reason was just revealed yesterday when the CDC reported, “of the patients requiring hospitalization, nearly half had previously been in good health.” Until now, health officials had found the most seriously ill adults with the Swine flu (the 2009 H1N1 influenza) had some other medical condition.
But now, Dr. Anne Schuchat of the National Center for Immunization & Respiratory Diseases is saying, “I think a key point is that this virus can be serious, even in healthy people with no underlying conditions.”
ABC World News reported, “Federal health officials today released the largest study yet on adults hospitalized with the H1N1 swine flu. It shows almost half the patients, 46%, had no underlying conditions.”
USA Today reported that Schuchat said that 46% of adults hospitalized for H1N1 influenza “didn’t have a known underlying condition,” reemphasizing, “A key point is this virus can be serious even in healthy people.”
Now, that means that the majority, 54%, of patients admitted to hospitals with severe Swine flu, have medical issues.
The Washington Post reported that the CDC found “asthma is by far the most common underlying condition associated with severe cases of the disease.” Of adults with underlying conditions measured, “about 26 percent had asthma, eight percent had some other chronic lung disease, 10 percent had diabetes, nearly eight percent had weakened immune systems, and six percent were pregnant.”
Meanwhile, “health officials cautioned that the new analysis is preliminary and did not count” as an underlying condition obesity, which other research suggests could be a risk factor for severe H1N1 flu.
For children, “much rarer chronic conditions, such as sickle cell anemia, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, are also predisposing patients to life-threatening bouts of the virus.”
In addition, Schuchat said that “pregnant women are at an unusually high risk for flu complications” because the condition itself is “controlled immunosuppression,” and “the enlarging womb also compresses the lungs.”
The AP calls the results “surprising.” I’d say they are stunning — and add to the reasons that all of you who are healthy should strongly consider both the seasonal flu and the Swine flu vaccines.