Global H1N1 death toll may be 15 times higher than previously reported
An Algerian doctor prepares a vaccine dose against the H1N1 flu in 2009 in a hospital in Algiers.
June 25th, 2012
07:09 PM ET

Global H1N1 death toll may be 15 times higher than previously reported

The actual number of deaths from the 2009 H1N1 pandemic might have been more than 15 times higher than previously thought, according to a study released on Monday.

When the new H1N1 virus, often referred to as swine flu, spread around the world three years ago, 18,500 deaths were reported to the World Health Organization in the first 16 months of the pandemic.  Based on this new study, published online in The Lancet Infectious Diseases, researchers estimate 284,400 people actually died in the first year the virus was circulating around the world.

According to a model developed by the study authors, the actual number of deaths linked to the H1N1 flu virus could range anywhere from 151,700 to 575,400.   Lead study author Dr. Fatimah Dawood says she and her colleagues used three types of data to come up with their estimates:


Closing schools could stop the flu
February 8th, 2012
10:37 AM ET

Closing schools could stop the flu

In June 2009, the new H1N1 flu strain was spreading like wildfire in western Canada, just as it was in dozens of countries around the world. But within a few weeks, the flames were nearly out, and a new study pinpoints a possible reason: summer vacation.

On June 12, high schools in the province of Alberta let out for the summer. On June 19, the middle schools finished, followed by the elementary schools on June 26. Researchers from McMaster University compared those dates to the incidence of new H1N1 cases in Alberta, and using a complex statistical analysis, estimated that closing schools reduced flu transmission among school children by more than 50%.

That, in turn, reduced transmission in the population at large. The findings, published in the Annals of Internal Medicine, support the idea that closing schools could reduce or slow down a dangerous outbreak of influenza.

How Gen X reacted to the H1N1 pandemic
January 24th, 2012
12:02 AM ET

How Gen X reacted to the H1N1 pandemic

In April 2009, the CDC identified a new virus in humans: H1N1, or what was then called swine flu, and the wheels of the public health machine started turning.

The World Health Organization (WHO) declared a global H1N1 pandemic in June, and by October 2009, the first doses of an H1N1-specific vaccine were administered.

A study published Tuesday looks at how Americans in their thirties reacted to the availability of a vaccine.  In all, about one in five of those in Generation X got the H1N1 vaccine during the 2009-2010 pandemic, according to the researcher’s analysis of survey data.

Bedbugs attack U.N. and other health headlines
October 28th, 2010
04:18 PM ET

Bedbugs attack U.N. and other health headlines

Bedbugs are no fan of the United Nations.  They've been making a home at some of the chairs at the international organization. Along with their march toward world domination, a few other headlines caught our eye this week:  news about pancreatic cancer, one of the deadliest; who is and isn't getting a flu shot; and the drinking habits of smart people.

A few quick hits:

UN infected by bedbugs

It’s not enough for the bedbugs to take over Manhattan.  It turns out they want to invade the United Nations too.

Over the weekend, dogs detected bedbugs in conference room chairs at one office building in the complex. A U.N. spokesman said in a briefing Wednesday that the infested chairs were fumigated and none of the building occupants have reported bites. FULL POST

August 26th, 2010
04:47 PM ET

Flu deaths 'a moving target,' CDC says

When it comes to estimating how many people will die annually from the flu, the Centers for Disease Control says averages just don't explain the full picture.

"Flu is really unpredictable," explains Dr. David Shay, a medical officer with the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases. "Flu deaths are a moving target."


August 20th, 2010
01:46 PM ET

Flu shots available now

During a scorching summer,  flu shots may not be the first thing on your mind. But, drug store giants are making them available now.

The early availability of these shots follows new recommendations from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that all people aged six months and older should receive the vaccine. The agency also said that the annual flu vaccination should begin in September or as soon as vaccine is available and continue throughout the flu season, into December, January, and beyond. Read more here about protecting yourself.


July 30th, 2010
02:49 PM ET

New flu vaccine is on the way

Anyone looking for protection against the seasonal flu may soon find it available at a doctor's office or nearby clinic.  Manufacturers have begun to ship the 2010/2011 seasonal flu shots and sprays.

Glaxo SmithKline, Sanofi-Pasteur, Novartis and MedImmune (maker of the flu spray FluMist) have announced that their flu vaccines are being shipped to distributors.

In the end, 155 million doses of flu shots and sprays should be available for the upcoming flu season, if all goes well with the manufacturing process.  On Friday, Sanofi Pasteur announced that the first of more than 70 million doses of vaccine have been shipped and GSK plans to supply more than 30 million doses of vaccine.  Novartis said Thurday that  it plans to ship about 40 million flu shots and MedImmune began shipping  it's first of 15 million sprays on July 21.

July 1st, 2010
03:22 PM ET

Swine flu vaccine tossed

An estimated 40 million doses of H1N1 vaccine expired Wednesday and will be thrown away, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services,  says. Federal officials say the expired vaccine accounts for nearly 25 percent of the 162 million doses of swine flu vaccine that were available for public use. The vaccine will be crushed and then incinerated.


June 25th, 2010
09:54 AM ET

Kids may need 2 H1N1 doses again this year

By Miriam Falco
CNN Medical News Managing Editor

Children over 6 months and under 9 years old who haven't received an H1N1 vaccine yet can expect to get two doses of seasonal flu vaccine this fall, if the Centers for Disease Control adopts recommendations from its vaccine advisory committee.

The CDC's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices voted to add this recommendation to the usual seasonal flu rules at a regularly scheduled meeting in Atlanta on Thursday.


June 17th, 2010
11:55 AM ET

Should pregnant women be medical test subjects?

By Stephanie Smith
CNN Medical Producer

Citing high death rates among pregnant women during the recent H1N1 flu pandemic, researchers spelled out what they believe is an urgent need to perform clinical testing in that group, according an article in the New England Journal of Medicine.

The researchers called pregnant women "therapeutic orphans" because of their virtual exclusion from medical research.

"The importance of studying subpopulations that have previously been excluded from research is undeniable," wrote the authors. "Ironically, the effort to protect the fetus from research-related risks by excluding pregnant women from research places both women and their fetuses at great risk..." FULL POST

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About this blog

Get a behind-the-scenes look at the latest stories from CNN Chief Medical Correspondent, Dr. Sanjay Gupta, Senior Medical Correspondent Elizabeth Cohen and the CNN Medical Unit producers. They'll share news and views on health and medical trends - info that will help you take better care of yourself and the people you love.