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May 1st, 2009
08:20 PM ET

Evening Buzz: Swine Flu Cases Rise, Vaccine Wanted

[cnn-photo-caption image=http://i2.cdn.turner.com/cnn/2009/HEALTH/05/01/swine.flu.outbreak/art.sun.flu.jpg caption="Tourists sunbathe wearing surgical masks in the popular Mexican resort of Acapulco."]

Maureen Miller
AC360° Writer

The numbers keep rising.  The World Health Organization says that the number of confirmed cases of swine flu worldwide is 367 and counting. That includes 141 in the United States and 156 in Mexico.

Meanwhile,  new steps are being taken to  tackle the virus, which is also known as H1N1.

Here are some of them:

– Spend $251 million to buy 13 million courses of antiviral medications to replenish the U.S. Strategic National Stockpile

– Shipping 400,000 antiviral regimens to Mexico, where the flu has taken the most lives

– Posting the genetic sequence for the virus on the internet so researchers around the world can study it. See it HERE.

After reviewing the data, scientists believe this strain is not as dangerous as the 1918 flu that killed millions.   And, there's more encouraging news.

"We have no doubt that making a successful vaccine is possible within a relatively short period of time," said Dr. Marie-Paule Kieny, Director of the Initiative for Vaccine Research at the World Health Organization.

But as for the severity of the virus, it is too early to tell.

"You might think about a baseball player, trying to estimate a baseball player's batting average one week into the season. I think that's about what we're trying to cope with here in the U.S.," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, Interim Deputy Director for the CDC's Science and Public Health Program.

Would you take the vaccine when it's finally ready? Share your thoughts below.

Join us at 10pm ET for the latest on the outbreak.  We'll also have tonight's other headlines.

Hope to see you then!


Filed under: Maureen Miller • The Buzz
soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Dolores, Austin Texas

    Thanks for the information on your web-site CNN answers for frequently asked questions regarding the Swine flu, It was so informative that our agency sent it to all employess. Thanks for keeping us informed.

    May 4, 2009 at 9:12 am |
  2. ic3y

    So far so good I haven’t had the flu in a while. I’ve gotten my shots regularly so I think ill be fine. But there have been cases where close friends and family members have gotten the flu even after they got a flu shot. So to get another shot for this one seems pointless. It doesn’t guarantee you 100 % that you won’t get the flu, it just helps you build strength against it, and even after that you can still get sick. Well if i am going to get sick I might as well just stick it out instead of rushing to the doctor asking for another shot. Plus there is no guarantee that you’ll get the shot right away. Good luck getting in to see my doctor. If you take care of your self and keep a good hygiene (wash your hands before you touch your face, eat, etc.) you will not need a shot. Some more than others spread these viruses cause of their carelessness and disregard for others. For example cover your dam mouth when you sneeze and then wash your hands after, or carry tissues, hand sanitizer. All this stuff can be found at every gas station its just there are so many people that are careless and have no sense to buy or do these things.

    May 3, 2009 at 8:55 pm |
  3. Robert Guy

    Taking the flu shot encompasses a little bit more than getting a shot in the arm. Your risk to being exposed to the flu rises dramatically by going to the hospital or flu shot administration site. You go in to get your shot and wait for 20 mins around another 50 to 100 people waiting for their shot. So you are in a confined space with potentially other sick people or contaminated surroundings. Wow, I can compare it to jumping out of the canoe in alligator infested waters to tread water for a while to get a flu vaccine that may or may not keep the alligators away in the future. I think I will just go surfing in shark infested waters, I believe my chances of surviving a bite are greater. I have the salt water and the sun to clean my body. I took the flu shot last year for the first time only to find out it did not prevent me from catching a different strain of the flu. I actually think taking the flu shot is wise but I wish the distribution was changed. Have it delivered to my house via FedEx and I will give my self the shot.

    May 3, 2009 at 11:10 am |
  4. David, Indiana

    Given the adverse effect of the prev swine flu vaccine, I would maybe take it. People should be sure to be well nourished and get enough sleep, though. That helps with viruses like the flu, that and good hygiene. As far as the govt. response what they're doing is so right, or feels that way, they've got out ahead of it, and they turn up the response when needed, some fumbling, but some fine tuning going on too. The extensive coverage obviously helps, but it's an intense journey from from the outset of the outbreak to now. Maybe a litte overboard at some pts, like the natl guard watching over tamiflu, c'mon, or are they just helping with the shipping?

    May 2, 2009 at 3:58 am |
  5. Justine in Central Coast California

    It's doubtful that I would take the vaccine. Just get me some Tamiflu from the doctor. One school closed here in Gilroy but now they've changed their minds and it will open again on Monday. Haven't seen any face masks but hand sanitizer is around in banks & in the hospitals, of course. Carrying a small bottle of it at all times.

    May 2, 2009 at 12:45 am |
  6. Kayla

    Hard to say. A vaccine untested concerns me; yet, if scientists/doctors are confident that the vaccine will work, then I would get it to reduce both my and others' chances of catching the flu.
    That's partially the point of vaccines, right? Get as many people vaccinated as possible so that the people that cannot get vaccinated still have a lesser chance of getting which ever disease is going around. Babies and people with weak immune systems can't get vaccines, so if a high percentage of the population is vaccinated, unlikely to catch the disease and unlikely to become contagious, then these people who were unable to get vaccinated are still somewhat protected.
    So I would.

    May 1, 2009 at 11:57 pm |
  7. Lily in St. Louis

    By the way, anyone see what's wrong with that picture, sunbathing with the mask on? This is ridiculous. Do they know that their face will have lines from the tan, and they will then definitely look like they got the flu? Ignorant is bliss, flu or no flu, I guess??? However, the picture does caught my eyes.

    May 1, 2009 at 11:42 pm |
  8. Lily in St. Louis

    I would wait a bit, like few months or even a flu season, just to see if it is safe and nobody dies from it. Living in America is great, that health care are available, knowing there are Tamiflu around the corner, why sweat? This, to me is still a small thing. Take lots of Vit C, I think is a good thing, always.

    May 1, 2009 at 11:38 pm |
  9. Lori

    I don't know, but i would talk to my doctor? i mean how safe is it really being produced in short amount of time. Would you take it?

    May 1, 2009 at 10:59 pm |
  10. Lou

    Flu shots contain mercury. I didn't know that until I started to read about the flu. I don't want to consume mercury so no flu shots for me. I'd rwther take Vitamin D.

    May 1, 2009 at 10:32 pm |
  11. Jennifer

    I'd take the vaccine, sure I would.
    I want to make a trip to Calif, but
    I'm not sure if it's safe right now.

    I hope this flu is over blown for
    most of us.

    May 1, 2009 at 10:25 pm |
  12. Becky in Texas

    I've had flu shots for the last two years and still suffered with the flu. No thank you I'll pass and take my chances riding this one out. Each year the "normal" flu shot does little to protect the general population because frequently the vaccine doesn't include the strain that happens to take hold that season.

    Moreso, of the 4 anti-virals available only 2 are effective against the current flu. IF taken within 48 hours of onset, then it will shorten the duration of the flu by 2-3 days. Have you tried getting into your doctor's office fast, quick and in a hurry? Will your doctor call in a prescrption to the pharmacy for you sight unseen? Good Luck!

    Currently, it appears there are a few flu strains evolving. Why did those in Mexico die while in the US it has not caused death? I don't think "ground zero" for the virulent strain is identified. So I'm more than a bit leery an effective flu shot is on the horizon.

    I'll make sure I heed the recommendations to wash hands frequently, and steer clear of suspected sick people. If I catch it anyway, I'll rely on the old standbys, rest, acetomeniphen, liquids and Mom's chicken soup!

    May 1, 2009 at 10:09 pm |
  13. Patty Barrow

    I just read the caption beneath the couple above sunbathing in Acapulco.. why in the world are pople still traveling to Mexico without good reason? Even though it has spread to the U.S. amd other countries i really do not understand anyone going to Mexico for vacations .. this really baffles me!

    Peace

    May 1, 2009 at 9:53 pm |
  14. Stacy

    I would be scared of taking a vaccine. The vaccine for the 1976 swine flu made people sick.

    May 1, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  15. Patty Barrow

    I too like Annie hope this flu is more hype than substamce, but this is something we can never really know for sure.

    As for a quickly made non-tested or barely tested vaccine I would not take it..They are saying Tamiflu is working so why not take it perhaps even without symptoms or if you have been exposed .. I don't know if it would work that way but i would rather take a reliable medication that has been sufficienly tested than a vaccine injected that has not had a chance to be proven safe or reliable.

    I pray the numbers level off soon and anyone who has it or gets it recovers quickly.

    Peace and love

    May 1, 2009 at 9:48 pm |
  16. Isabel

    Would I take the vaccine when it becomes available? Absolutely!
    I like the traditional influenza vaccine. And this week I took in my work. My son, 3 years, took last week, in particular laboratory.

    This possibility to suspend the production of vaccines for seasonal flu and pass to produce a vaccine for the new H1N1 strain, it would be so good!

    May 1, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  17. Marie Anne Sam - Alabang in the Philippines

    If you don't have the symptoms, then there's no need to take the vaccine! If your body resistance is high, why bother and stress your body with the shot!

    I for one hate needles - and taking the shot just for the sake that everyone is doing it - is making a 'hype' out of nothing!

    But the increasing number is really disturbing! 🙁

    May 1, 2009 at 9:26 pm |
  18. Linda MacDonald

    Yes, I probablly would take the vacine. If the flu stays to light symptoms however it may be better to get the flu and build up my own immunity to it so if a second more virulent virus attacks in the fall; I would have some immunity.

    I would also like to know if allergy meds would help control the body's over reaction to the virus? Wouldn't this help young people keep from drowning in their own body fluids?

    Also, should we be doing the Howie Mandel knuckle to knuckle greeting instead of shaking hands. I think that would cut down on spreading germs. Further, going to the movies might be a bad idea as there are too many people in a confined space. If you do go don't eat or drink anything like sugary sweets/drinks especially chocolate that coats your throat and is the perfect environment for virus and bacteria to grow.

    If you start coughing or sneezing try the elbow/sleeve technique to prevent launching the virus into space. If you have a productive cough, use large tissues and dispose of them in paper bags that you could tape to your bedside so disposal will be easy & not infective.

    May 1, 2009 at 9:11 pm |
  19. RG

    Taking a vaccine that is created in such a short amount of time without adequate testing frightens me. I'll just take my chances.

    May 1, 2009 at 8:56 pm |
  20. Annie Kate

    Would I take the vaccine? I'll go with my doctor's recommendation. I figure he will know if i am in the group that needs it or not. I hope an effective vaccine can be made quickly for those people who are at risk of getting it and having a rough go of it. And I hope this flu has been more hype than substance in the end.

    May 1, 2009 at 8:25 pm |