H1N1 Influenza Virus 2
H1N1 is a new influenza virus causing illness in people. This virus was first detected in residents of the United States in April of 2009. This virus is contagious and is spreading from person to person worldwide just as seasonal flu viruses spread. According to Up To Date (2009), the month of July in the United States contained 43,000 confirmed cases of H1N1 reported from 55 states and territories. The World Health Organization (WHO) raised its pandemic alert level to the highest level, phase 6. The characteristics of pandemics are their rapid spread to all parts of the world. According to American Medical Association (H1N1 news, n.d.), as of November 12, 2009, data from April 2009 through October 17, 2009 indicates that:
there is a total of 20 million people became ill with H1N1, 98,000 hospitalized, and 3,900 deaths. In the age group of eighteen years old and younger, eight million people were ill, 53,000 were hospitalized, and there were 540 deaths. Ages 65 and greater had two million ill, 9,000 hospitalized and 440 deaths (n.p.). This is a growing pandemic that must be prevented from spreading.
H1N1 INFLUENZA VIRUS 3
Rate of confirmed and probable cases of pandemic H1N1 influenza A in the United States by age group, April 15 to July 24, 2009. Excludes 6,741 cases with missing ages. Rate/100,000 by single year age groups. Denominator source: 2008 census estimates, US Census Bureau at http://www.census.go/popest/national/asrh/files/NC-EST2007-ALLDATA-R-File24.csv. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/h1n1flu/surveillanceqa.htm.
Figure 1 shows the age groups most affected by the H1NI virus in the United States. As can be seen, the highest level of reported infections occurred among individuals five to twenty-four years of age followed by individuals who are zero to four years of age. People who are zero to twenty-four years of age are most likely to get the H1N1 infection. According to the American Medical Association (Clinical guidance, n.d.), the symptoms of the H1N1 influenza are similar to the symptoms of seasonal influenza and may include: • Fever greater than 100.4( F
• Sore throat
• Stuffy nose
• Headache and body aches
• Some people have reported having diarrhea and vomiting
H1N1 INFLUENZA VIRUS 4
Most people feel better within a week, but some people get pneumonia and other serious illnesses and need to be hospitalized. When this happens, the person may die.
The vaccine is the first and most important step in protection against the virus. Vaccination stimulates an immune response using a killed or weakened virus that uses the body’s own defense mechanism to prevent infection. According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the CDC, (2009), Advisory Committee on Immunization Practice (ACIP) recommends that certain groups of populations receive the 2009 H1N1 vaccine first. These groups include: • Pregnant women
• People who care for children younger than six months of age • Health care and emergency health services personnel with direct patient contact • Persons between the ages of six months and twenty-four years • People ages of twenty-five to sixty-four years of age who are at risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorder or have a compromised immune system (n.p.). Vaccines that protect against the 2009 H1N1 flu virus are available; however, the initial supply is limited. The ACIP states that when demands for the vaccine for target peoples are fulfilled, the vaccine will be available for all people who want to get vaccinated (CDC, 2009). According to Immunization Action...