Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Swine Flu Deaths in South Carolina

Up until this week, no deaths from swine flu have been reported in South Carolina. This changed when a child in the Midlands, who has not been publicly identified, died from complications caused by infection with swine flu. Reportedly, the child had pre-existing medical conditions, which made him or her vulnerable. No other details have been published. Nationwide 522 deaths and 7,983 cases have been officially reported, with countless others probably going unreported.

Swine flu vaccine is not available yet. Here are some wrinkles to be aware of: 1) the U.S. government has purchased enough doses for EVERY person in the U.S., so there will be NO cost for the vaccine; 2) administration of the vaccine at this point WILL cost money unless stated otherwise; 3) Public health officials are preparing for mass vaccinations. I am not aware of any published plans for South Carolina or the Upstate Region specifically yet; 4) the first doses will not be given until mid-October; 5) estimates run from 30%-50% of the U.S. population will get swine flu, so please consider getting vaccinated; 6) our office has ordered doses of the regular influenza vaccine, but we do not have it yet. I will announce when we do have it and the guidelines for how both vaccines should be given. Stay tuned, and keep your hands clean (see 6 steps to preventing influenza.)

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