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Report Warns H1N1 Could Affect Half Of U.S. Population

A U.S. presidential panel report released Monday estimates H1N1 (swine) flu could infect up to half of the country’s population, the Washington Post reports.

According to the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology’s 86-page report, “swine flu could infect half the U.S. population this fall and winter, hospitalizing up to 1.8 million people and causing as many as 90,000 deaths — more than double the number that occur in an average flu season,” (Stein, 8/25). ABC News also reports on the dire warnings, noting, “others are more skeptical, saying these numbers seem to be a worst-case scenario” (Kerkley/Owens/Bass, 8/24).

Meanwhile, Reuters reports: “U.S. officials should help drug companies speed up the supply of swine flu drugs and vaccines, making at least some shots available by mid-September, White House science advisers said on Monday. … they also urged the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to quickly decide on new, intravenous formulations of flu drugs” (Fox, 8/24).

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Filling the need for trusted information on national health issues, the Kaiser Family Foundation is a nonprofit organization based in Menlo Park, California.