Swine flu is widespread in Georgia already

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About 36 children are among those who have died from the novel influenza A H1N1 virus this year, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Thursday.

The number of people with flulike illness is increasing in the Southeast, particularly in Georgia, which is now at widespread status, the highest level of flulike activity. The Georgia Division of Public Health noted that as of Wednesday 192 people have been hospitalized and five have died from the new virus. One of the Georgia deaths was a 7-year-old boy in Gilmer County, and another was a 52-year-old woman in Clarke County. All of the Georgia patients who died had underlying health conditions, the Georgia division said.

Of the 36 children across the country who died, two-thirds had a serious underlying disability, such as cerebral palsy, said CDC Director Thomas Frieden. Seven of the 36 were younger than 5 years old and five were younger than 2, according to data reported in the CDC's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. Six of the children were older than 5, had no underlying health conditions and were hit by an invasive bacterial infection, which Dr. Frieden said should be a warning to clinicians if a child gets sick, gets better, then comes down with fever again.

Nineteen of the children who died received antiviral treatment -- mostly Tamiflu -- but only four started treatment within the recommended 48 hours from when the illness began, the report notes.

"If children have underlying conditions -- and two-thirds of the children in this report had conditions such as muscular dystrophy and cerebral palsy -- it's very important that they be treated promptly," Dr. Frieden said.

The opposite might be true for healthy people who do not appear to have severe symptoms such as trouble breathing, he said.

"The overwhelming majority of people with H1N1 influenza are going to do fine, they don't need testing, they don't need treatment," Dr. Frieden said. He urged people who are not having severe symptoms to refrain from using hospital Emergency Rooms or visiting the doctor to keep from overwhelming the system.

In past flu seasons, there have been pediatric deaths ranging from 156 in the 2003-04 season to 46 in the 2005-06 season, the CDC report notes. While the new virus appears to be more prone to strike younger people, evidence from the Southern hemisphere and data from the U.S. suggest it is not more deadly than seasonal flu, Dr. Frieden said.

"So far, it is not more severe," he said. "We don't know that it's less severe. Clearly, the number of deaths now at more than 500 deaths in the country in all age groups emphasizes that influenza can be a very serious disease. That's why it's so important that we take every step at our disposal."

That includes proper handwashing, staying home if sick and getting vaccinated if in the high-risk groups when the novel H1N1 vaccine becomes available, which is expected to start in mid-October, Dr. Frieden said.

Reach Tom Corwin at (706) 823-3213 or tom.corwin@augustachronicle.com.

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soldout
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soldout 09/04/09 - 09:06 am
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Flu deaths run less than 2000

Flu deaths run less than 2000 a year per the CDC. To get informed on the vaccines check out drtenpenny.com. High risk groups actually do worst by taking the shot per a recent study. In 1976 when we gave the shot for swine flu; 25 died from the shot and one from the flu. Sunshine without sun screen is probably much more effective than hand washing to protect yourself. Sugar and lack of sunshine are two main causes of a weak immune systems.

Fiat_Lux
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Fiat_Lux 09/04/09 - 01:58 pm
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But people with health

But people with health issues, especially respiratory problems, GET THE SHOTS!

Evans Ga.
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Evans Ga. 09/04/09 - 02:20 pm
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Why don't they actually

Why don't they actually announce which schools are infected with this now, especially daycares. All I keep hearing is "it's the normal flu" but apparently facts aren't being stated correctly for fear in the community.

ramble
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ramble 09/04/09 - 02:47 pm
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soldout, I don't know where

soldout, I don't know where you got your numbers but certainly not from the CDC. 36,000 people die in the US each year from the flu (on average). You must be on board with Obamacare if you're trying to talk people out of the flu shot... if they're dead from the flu you won't have to pay to take care of them right?

And Evans, from what I hear the schools in North Augusta have had hundreds of students out sick this week but I'm sure it will be across the river shortly. I'd give it a week or two.

Roeschen
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Roeschen 09/04/09 - 03:01 pm
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Soldout - what a ridiculous

Soldout - what a ridiculous statement. People die from the flu. Why not help yourself possibly avoid something that can kill you? As Fiat Lux says, if you have any health problems, especially respiratory problems, get the flu shots. I will go one further, if you care for infants, the aged, or anybody with health problems, or if you are a health care giver, child care giver, teacher, or anyone interested in your health, get the shots.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 09/04/09 - 07:01 pm
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Well, the vaccine is a little

Well, the vaccine is a little late for schools in the Southeast, since we start so much earlier than the northeast for instance. But it doesn't seem to matter whether the children are in school or not. I just found out my three year old niece and her mom in Grovetown are running fevers and have cold symptoms and her parents were just informed she was exposed to swine flu by her ONE toddler playmate on their last play-date. Considering this family is usually pretty healthy through other flu seasons, this is not a good sign. I'm keeping them in my prayers and I'm hoping some of you will add them to your prayer list. Thankfully, they don't have any underlying health issues that we know of, but prayers don't hurt.

FallingLeaves
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FallingLeaves 09/04/09 - 07:04 pm
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Meanwhile, wash those hands,

Meanwhile, wash those hands, don't get run down, get your rest when you can, stay hydrated, and cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough - common sense measures that should help slow this threat down.

soldout
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soldout 09/05/09 - 07:53 am
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I get my information from the

I get my information from the CDC and research; yes it is less than 2000 deaths. Everyone else must get their's from the state controlled and medical advertising media. Why does the truth upset folks so bad? Those at risk do worst if they get a flu shot. That is what the research shows and I can't help what the facts are.

corgimom
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corgimom 09/05/09 - 12:59 pm
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BREAKING NEWS! Sick people

BREAKING NEWS! Sick people die from the flu! Oh MY GOD, this is major news!

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