August 2, 2009

CDC anticipates H1N1 pandemic

U.S. public health experts indicated Sunday the H1N1 flu will make a strong return, possibly as soon as the end of August.

Drug makers will begin this week testing two potential vaccines against an anticipated H1N1 pandemic but vaccinations are not expected to be available until mid-October, the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported Sunday.

The most at-risk segment of the population -- pregnant women, those with chronic diseases, healthcare and emergency medical workers, and children -- will be the first recipients, the Centers for Disease Control indicated.

Public health experts say people might be asked to stay away from crowded areas for up to four months to keep spread of H1N1 to a minimum. Dr. Bruce Lee, a University of Pittsburgh infectious diseases expert, said such social distancing measures can help to lessen the epidemic.

Pay very close attention to what the CDC and what other public health officials are saying and take it seriously, he said.

Some federal government estimates indicate up to 40 percent of the population could get swine flu in the next two years.