Swine Flu vs Seasonal Flu - NBC 7 San Diego

Swine Flu vs Seasonal Flu

A look at the latest numbers



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    Experts say swine flu appears to be on track with what they see every year from the seasonal flu when it comes to numbers, but not when it comes to the age group affected.
    "If you look overall the rates of hospitalization and even deaths from swine flu are about what we see every year with regular influenza," said Dr. Mark Sawyer with Rady Children’s Hospital.

    On average, about five to twenty percent of Americans are infected with the regular seasonal flu each year. When it comes to swine flu, the CDC says from just April to July, about two percent of the population may have been infected.  Twenty eight percent of the population was affected by the Spanish Flu pandemic of 1918.  

    The seasonal flu kills about 36,000 Americans a year.  So far, the CDC has confirmed 1,004 swine flu deaths. 
    About 500,000 to 675,000 Americans died in the 1918 pandemic. 

    "I think what we know for the entire nation the numbers of deaths and hospitalizations have not reached what an annual flu season is, but we're not through, we're technically in our second wave,” said San Diego County Health Officer Dr. Wilma Wooten. 

    Wooten says a third wave of swine flu could last through next spring, but hopes the public vaccinations will blunt that wave.

    The big difference between swine flu and the regular seasonal flu appears to be who is being most affected.

    "The difference we're seeing this year with swine flu is it's affecting children and young adults and it's not affecting seniors," said Dr. Mark Sawyer with Rady Children’s Hospital.

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    In 1918, the government did not track pediatric flu deaths.  Mandatory reporting started in 2004.  Since then, an average of 93 children die every year from seasonal flu.  The CDC says, so far, 53 American children have died from swine flu.

    "I mean, we're careful we wash hands all the time and things like that but I'm not freaking out about it," said San Diegan Michelle Metzel, a mother of three.