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Officials Say Swine Flu Could Strike 40 Percent of Population

By Susan Brinkmann, OCDS Staff Writer The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is estimating that 40 percent of Americans may contract swine flu within the next two years, about twice the number of people who usually get sick in a normal flu season. The Associated Press is reporting that U.S. officials predict several hundred thousand people could die if a vaccine campaign and other measures to protect the public are not successful. As many as 160 million doses of a new vaccine should be available sometime in October with testing of the vaccine expected to start soon. Predictions are based on earlier flu pandemics but influenza is notoriously hard to predict. The number of deaths and illnesses would drop if the pandemic peters out or if efforts to slow its spread are successful, said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner. "Hopefully, mitigation efforts will have a big impact on future cases," said CDC spokesman Tom Skinner said. The swine flue was first identified in April and is believed to have infected more than one million Americans thus far. Most cases have been mild but 302 Americans died as a result of the flu with the majority of these deaths occurring in people with other ailments. However, of particular concern is the frequency with which this flu strikes teens and young adults rather than the elderly and young children who are the most common victims of flu viruses. Officials say the flu has continued to spread through the summer, which is unusual. They are concerned about a possible explosion of cases in the fall when children return to school and the weather turns cold, which makes the spread of the virus much easier. On a global scale, the World Health Organization says as many as two billion people could become infected over the next two years — nearly one-third of the world population. © All Rights Reserved, Living His Life Abundantly®/Women of Grace®




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