World News

H1N1 cases, demand for vaccine both on rise

Posted October 23, 2009 8:55 a.m. EDT
Updated October 23, 2009 2:47 p.m. EDT

— Nearly 5,000 people have reportedly died from swine flu since it emerged this year and developed into a global epidemic, the World Health Organization said Friday.

Since most countries have stopped counting individual swine flu cases, the figure is considered an underestimate.

WHO said there were 4,999 total deaths through Oct. 18, most of them in the Western Hemisphere. The figure was up 264 from a week earlier.

As infections increase, demand for the vaccine to prevent them has also grown. County health departments across the Triangle have quickly run of out supply any time they open a clinic. In Orange County Friday, more than 100 shots were distributed in under 10 minutes.

In the United States, swine flu caused at least 95 children's deaths since April, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Friday.

Forty-six states now have widespread flu activity, the CDC said, adding that only Connecticut, Hawaii, New Jersey and South Carolina are without widespread flu.

While most people recover from swine flu without needing medical treatment, the virus strikes children particularly hard.

According to data from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half of hospitalizations and nearly a quarter of deaths due to swine flu are in children and adults under 25.

An Associated Press-GfK poll found that a third of American parents don't want their children to get the swine flu shot, with many citing concerns about side effects.

Of the thousands of people who have so far received the swine flu vaccine, the most commonly reported side effects have been soreness where the injection was given and minor flu symptoms.