Friday, November 6, 2009
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is a US government agency. In an interview with Wikinews, Jeff Dimond, a member of the Division of Media Relations for the CDC, answered a few question regarding the current situation of the H1N1 swine flu pandemic.
The CDC reported that during week 42 (October 18–24) of this year, the swine flu activity increased in the United States with 19 confirmed deaths by swine flu, while week 43 (Oct. 25–31) faced 15 confirmed deaths.
((Wikinews)) How does the CDC feel the media has handled the H1N1 flu pandemic?
Jeff Dimond: Media coverage has been quite good.
((WN)) What measures are the CDC taking to combat the swine flu?
JD: Public health information is being distributed nationwide, scientists worked hard to identify the H1N1 virus and produce a vaccine in record time.
((WN)) What areas around the world are affected most by the swine flu?
JD: This is a question for the WHO (World Health Organization).
((WN)) Are the current anti-flu vaccines effective and how sufficient is the current supply?
JD: All current anti-flu vaccines are effective. Manufacturers are producing doses as fast as possible. Spot shortages may occur, but there is not an overall shortage of vaccine. For the most severe cases, a drug called Peramivir has been authorized for emergency use by the FDA.
((WN)) How can one avoid infection and how deadly is this disease?
JD: Proper hand sanitation and avoidance of individuals who have flu-like symptoms is the best way to avoid becoming ill. To date more than 1000 Americans have died from LABORATORY CONFIRMED cases of H1N1 and of those 129 are under the age of 18. The most at-risk populations are pregnant women, younger people in the 18–49 age group and those with other complicating conditions such as asthma, COPD, diabetes and morbid obesity.
((WN)) What efforts have the CDC made to insure vaccines are available for those with no or poor health-care?
JD: Distribution of vaccine is up to the state health departments. CDC is not a regulatory agency.
((WN)) If someone suspects they have swine flu what would the best course of action be?
JD: They should seek medical attention.
((WN)) When will the swine flu die down and cease being a pandemic?
JD: No idea.
((WN)) Besides the CDC, what other entities, governmental and private, are involved in stopping this disease and how?
JD: All public health and medical agencies with a stake in H1N1 are cooperating to control the spread of H1N1.
((WN)) Is there a significant risk of H1N1 mutating and becoming more deadly?
JD: Flu viruses are unpredictable so there is no way of answering this question. The CDC is constantly monitoring these viruses.