Contagious Disease

Swine Flu Emergency Declared

As I predicted, the H1N1 influenza virus has returned to the U.S. this fall.  FluTracker gives a visual representation of the spread of the disease.  

In response to the spread of H1N1, President Obama declared the H1N1 outbreak a national emergency.  The declaration will  “allow a hospital to set up a make-shift satellite facility for swine flu patients in a local armory or other suitably spacious location, or at another hospital, to segregate such cases for treatment.”  Without the waiver, “[u]nder federal law, if the patients are sent off site …the hospital could be refused reimbursement for care as a sanction.”

However, the national emergency declaration won’t help increase the speed of production for the H1N1 vaccine. The state of New York had previously declared that all health care workers must be vaccinated for against H1N1.  However, the state recently waved this mandate, not because of a change of opinion but because of vaccine shortages.  The FDA has approved an experimental intravenous use of peramivir against H1N1 in emergency cases.  The FDA approval states that “peramivir can be used when other drugs have failed or when delivery by a route other than intravenous is not expected to be feasible.” 

Should people with flu-like symptoms go to the doctor?  The answer is yes.  However, you may have H1N1 even if your test gives a negative result.  The rapid-test version will only give a positive test result for  11 out of every 100 people who actually have the H1N1 virus (at best).


  1. conducted a study among 572 physicians regarding their concerns about the H1N1 swine flu. Results found physicians’ level of concern regarding a potential H1N1 flu pandemic is the highest since initial reports of the virus in April. With regard to the government preparedness in responding to a potential H1N1 epidemic, physicians rated preparedness the lowest since initial reports of the H1N1 virus in April.
    More in depth results can be seen at:

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