H1N1 Influenza: One New York City Pediatrician's View

H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu) & Kids

Medical Author: David Perlstein, MD, FAAP
Medical Author: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

Updated time-line of H1N1 swine flu news October 27, 2009

Six months have passed since my last posting about swine flu, now known globally as the novel H1N1 virus. We in New York City experienced a very significant increase in the number of patients evaluated in our Emergency Departments and offices last spring. Interesting, though, we did not see a huge increase in the number of "sick" patients requiring admission to our hospitals. Overall, my own hospital experienced a 95% increase in pediatric visits to our Emergency Department, and a 35% increase in adult visits. We admitted 17 patients who tested positive for H1N1. We did see some critically ill individuals, all with known risk factors for complications of H1N1 infection (pregnant women, obese individuals, and very young children), but no elderly patients.

Between April and June 2009, New York City reported 990 flu-related admissions to hospitals and 54 deaths. Since August, the rest of the nation has experienced increases in novel H1N1 cases similar to the increases NYC experienced between April and May. Looking at the CDC US Surveillance Map, there is widespread illness in the USA; however a closer look at the current numbers reveals that since August, in Region 2, (which includes New York), there is next to no activity when compared to the rest of the country. In the NY Region there have been only 91 cases of H1N1 and 72 seasonal flu cases. That compares to an average of 2000 cases of H1N1 in all other regions.

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