October 24, 2009

Swine Flu Claims Nearly 5,000 Lives

The World Health Organization said on Friday that around 5,000 people have reportedly died from the swine flu since it emerged earlier this year.

The figure is considered an underestimate because most countries have stopped keeping count of individual swine flu cases.

The infection rate is lower in most European countries, but in Britain, Belgium, Holland and Norway the number of cases is very high.

WHO said Sudan, Trinidad and Tobago along with Iceland had their first swine flu death this week.

In the United States, almost 100 pediatric deaths have been reported.

In London, drug maker GlaxoSmithKline PLC said children may only need one shot of its swine flu vaccine to be protected.

Many people are hesitant to get the H1N1 vaccine, not knowing if there's any major side effects.

"Some are worried about either vaccine efficacy or possible side effects, even though we've got the message out there to reassure them that all the scientific checks and balances have been complied with," said Dr. Anne Doig, president of the Canadian Medical Association.

Also, getting immunized means a person does not spread the illness to others, she noted.

"To a certain extent, we are very selfish people. We are very focused on what this means for me and not focused on what it means for my society, my community," Doig added

A new report says that subjects injected with the new vaccine, "Pandemrix", suffered headaches, tiredness, pain, redness, and swelling of the injection site and a slight fever.

Experts insisted on the need to step up personal hygiene and good diet to prevent the risk of getting affected by the H1N1 virus, also called swine flu.


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