Florida, Oregon and Canada are all reporting cases of H1N1, which has been found in Texas already, causing the deaths of some victims, sickness in others and fears of more cases to be reported. Originally termed a “mystery illness,” test results for the H1N1 flu aka Swine Flu came back positive, worrying officials that a larger outbreak could occur.
In 2009 the H1N1 was named as the cause of a worldwide pandemic. By June 2012 the first global study published in the Lancet Infectious Diseases Online first, estimated the number of people that died from the 2009 pandemic.
Via the CDC:
The study, co-authored by 9 members of the CDC Influenza Division, used an improved modeling approach which resulted in an estimated range of deaths from between 151,700 and 575,400 people who perished worldwide from 2009 H1N1 virus infection during the first year the virus circulated. A disproportionate number of deaths occurred in Southeast Asia and Africa, where access to prevention and treatment resources are more likely to be limited. Study authors hope that this work can be used not only to improve how influenza deaths are estimated, but also to improve the public health response during future pandemics in parts of the world that suffer more influenza-related deaths.
These global estimates are more than 15 times higher than the number of laboratory-confirmed deaths reported to the World Health Organization (WHO). WHO has acknowledged for some time that official, lab-confirmed reports are an underestimate of actual number of influenza deaths. Diagnostic specimens are not always collected from people who die with influenza; for others, influenza virus may not be detectable by the time of death. Because of these challenges, modeling is used to estimate the actual burden of disease.
Considering the speed which death occurs and the rate of infection and spread of H1N1, it is understandable why officials would be concerned about this recent spread.