Sunday, May 17, 2009

Swine Flu Reports - Sat.? Sun.?

Has the swine flu fallen off the radar screen at the CDC?

The CDC had been issuing daily reports on swine flu numbers, including reports last Saturday and Sunday (a week ago). I began keeping a spreadsheet on May 6, when the CDC reported 642 total confirmed cases.

On May 15 the CDC re-titled the column of numbers as "Confirmed and Probable Cases", and on Friday there were 4,714 reported cases. The percentage increase in number of cases slowed considerably in the past few days, and the CDC issued no reports yesterday or today.

Some states have reported fewer numbers of cases than in previous days, before the category was changed to include "Probable Cases." For example, on May 9 Ohio reported an increase of six cases (to a total of 12), and on the following day it cut its number back to six.

And Georgia increased its number of reported cases from 8 on one day, to 36 the next day, and then cut the number back to 18 on the next day. It seems to me that a case would become "confirmed" only after a positive lab test. What was going on with tests in Georgia?

Are the tests reliable? Are there really 4,714 cases in the U.S.?

Pretty quickly people were saying that the threat was overblown. Any thoughts about that?

2 comments:

Francine said...

I too have been following the numbers with interest...an amateur epidemiologist...always fun when there's a new outbreak...And wondered the same thing? Overblown?...I doubt it...impact of emerging diseases are rarely overblown. Coverup? maybe...if you remember the early days of GRID and the denial of HIV by the Regan administration. Other reports say H1N1 is now at Rikers in NY. Can't very well close prisons now can we?

Gus said...

Thanks for your comment, Francine. Yes, it's hard to tell the inmates to "stay home for seven days and don't go to work."