March 1, 2010

Normally, this is the peak period for the flu in the United States. But that just doesn’t seem to be the case this year. The number of states reporting widespread cases of the flu mysteriously plunged from 49 at the end of October to zero at the beginning of the January, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). At the beginning of March, most states are only reporting sporadic cases of the flu.

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It seems only a few short weeks ago when medical authorities declared a flu pandemic, the first in more than 40 years, and warned that because of the simultaneous existence of both the H1N1 and regular seasonal flu strains, the 2009-10 flu season could wind up as one of the worst on record.

So what happened?

Only time will tell, said Dr. Michael Koller, associate professor at Loyola University Chicago Stritch School of Medicine, Maywood. Flu pandemics are highly unpredictable and no one can say for certain when one will start, when it will end and how severe it may be. A particular flu strain can go “poof” and disappear, or it could mutate and ramp up with a deadly vengeance, as has happened in the past.


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