March 1, 2010
With the World Health Organization warning yet again this week that the H1N1 virus has yet to reach its peak, a flu season that’s milder than average hardly seems that way. Now, the nearly yearlong coverage of H1N1 has left some worried that future influenza outbreaks will be met with ambivalent flu fatigue among the public.
- A d v e r t i s e m e n t
“It’s inevitable that there’s H1N1 fatigue,” Dr. Robert Daum, an infectious disease specialist at the University of Chicago Medical Center, told AOL News. “Health officials, the media and the public are all stuck between a rock and a hard place on this one.”
No doubt, the H1N1 virus was a legitimate health threat. The WHO estimates that 16,000 people have died from the flu strain, which targeted children and teens rather than the elderly. The virus was also prevalent during spring and summer months, whereas flues usually peak in the winter.
But despite its unconventional characteristics, H1N1 remained a mild pandemic. In the United States, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that flu-related hospitalization and death rates are actually unseasonably low this year. And with an estimated 140 million Americans either vaccinated or already recovered after contracting the strain, a subsequent wave of illness is unlikely.