Assessing current flu activity in the U.S., the director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said that while the presence of flu may have fallen, it is far from gone.
CDC chief says flu activity easing, vaccine availability rises
“We are in a window of opportunity,” CDC Director Thomas Frieden said in a weekly news briefing at the agency's headquarters in Atlanta. “We're going from a time of lots of disease and not enough vaccine to a time when disease is decreasing and more vaccine is available,” he said, adding that the flu virus is unpredictable. To prove that point, Frieden said the CDC took an informal poll of about a dozen flu experts around the world and found that half said there will be another wave of the flu, while the other half said there will not be another surge. As of Dec. 1, 32 states are reporting widespread flu activity.
According to Frieden, there are nearly 70 million doses of the vaccine for the H1N1 virus—popularly referred to as swine flu—available, with 25% of the allotment available in the form of a nasal spray. The CDC expects to have estimates later this week about the additional amount of doses it expects to be available, and the agency expects to offer estimates late next week about the number of hospitalizations and deaths from the disease, Frieden said.
In his opening remarks, Frieden reminded members of the media that Dec. 1 is World AIDS Day, and added that people with HIV can benefit from receiving the H1N1 vaccine.
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