Swine Flu Cases Wane, But Officials Urge Vigilance

The country is breathing a collective sigh of relief as the H1N1 virus seems to be making its retreat. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reported the number of states with widespread flu activity falling from 48 in late October to 32 on December 1, during its weekly flu briefing. Despite a definitive decrease in the prevalence of US swine flu cases, some health experts are cautioning against a resurgence of the virus.

“We took an informal poll of about a dozen of some of world’s leading experts in influenza,” said CDC Director Thomas Frieden, MD, MPH. “About half of them said, ‘yes, we think it’s likely that we’ll have another surge in cases.’ About half said, ‘no, we think it’s not likely.’ And one said, ‘flip a coin.’”

As swine flu activity dips, the amount of available vaccine is increasing. Frieden said now is a good time for individuals to get vaccinated if they have not already done so, reporting that close to 70 million doses are available.

The doses are likely to keep coming, with one example being vaccine maker Novavax reporting positive results for the first phase of its 2-phase, phase 2 study of the company’s 2009 virus-like particle pandemic influenza vaccine. The trial is set to move into its second phase.

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