Diagnosed With H1N1 or Swine Flu?
Odds Are You Are Misdiagnosed
In early September,
PreventDisease.com reported how the WHO and CDC were using junk
science and contradictions for all their pandemic policies and
preparation recommendations. Now CBS has aired a story which confirms
these irresponsible practices.
If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed"
2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be
surprised to know this: odds are you didnt have H1N1 flu.
In fact, you probably didnt have flu at all. That's according
to state-by-state test results obtained in a three-month-long
CBS News investigation.
The ramifications of this finding are important. According to
the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and Britain's
National Health Service, once you have H1N1 flu, you're immune
from future outbreaks of the same virus. Those who think they've
had H1N1 flu -- but haven't -- might mistakenly presume they're
immune. As a result, they might skip taking a vaccine that could
help them, and expose themselves to others with H1N1 flu under
the mistaken belief they won't catch it. Parents might not keep
sick children home from school, mistakenly believing they've already
had H1N1 flu.
Why the uncertainty about who has and who hasn't had H1N1 flu?
In late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing
for H1N1 flu, and stopped counting individual cases. The rationale
given for the CDC guidance to forego testing and tracking individual
cases was: why waste resources testing for H1N1 flu when the government
has already confirmed there's an epidemic?
Some public health officials privately disagreed with the decision
to stop testing and counting, telling CBS News that continued
tracking of this new and possibly changing virus was important
because H1N1 has a different epidemiology, affects younger people
more than seasonal flu and has been shown to have a higher case
fatality rate than other flu virus strains.
CBS News learned that the decision to stop counting H1N1 flu
cases was made so hastily that states weren't given the opportunity
to provide input. Instead, on July 24, the Council for State and
Territorial Epidemiologists, CSTE, issued the following notice
to state public health officials on behalf of the CDC:
"Attached are the Q&As that will be posted on the CDC
website tomorrow explaining why CDC is no longer reporting case
counts for novel H1N1. CDC would have liked to have run these
by you for input but unfortunately there was not enough time before
these needed to be posted (emphasis added)."
When CDC did not provide us with the material, we filed a Freedom
of Information request with the Department of Health and Human
Services (HHS). More than two months later, the request has not
been fulfilled. We also asked CDC for state-by-state test results
prior to halting of testing and tracking, but CDC was again, initially,
While we waited for CDC to provide the data, which it eventually
did, we asked all 50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed
H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July.
The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health
care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were
negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that
many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most
likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such
as travel to Mexico.
Its unknown what patients who tested negative for flu were
actually afflicted with since the illness was not otherwise determined.
Health experts say its assumed the patients had some sort
of cold or upper respiratory infection that is just not influenza.
With most cases diagnosed solely on symptoms and risk factors,
the H1N1 flu epidemic may seem worse than it is. For example,
on Sept. 22, this alarming headline came from Georgetown University
in Washington D.C.: "H1N1 Flu Infects Over 250 Georgetown
H1N1 flu can be deadly and an outbreak of 250 students would
be an especially troubling cluster. However, the number of sick
students came not from lab-confirmed tests but from "estimates"
made by counting "students who went to the Student Health
Center with flu symptoms, students who called the H1N1 hotline
or the Health Center's doctor-on-call, and students who went to
the hospital's emergency room."
Without lab testing, it's impossible to know how many of the
students actually had H1N1 flu. But the statistical trend indicates
it was likely much fewer than 250.
CDC continues to monitor flu in general and H1N1 through "sentinels,"
which basically act as spot-checks to detect trends around the
nation. But at least one state, California, has found value in
tracking H1N1 flu in greater detail.
"What we are doing is much more detailed and expensive than
what CDC wants," said Dr. Bela Matyas, California's Acting
Chief of Emergency Preparedness and Response. "We're gathering
data better to answer how severe is the illness. With CDC's fallback
position, there are so many uncertainties with who's being counted,
it's hard to know how much we're seeing is due to H1N1 flu rather
than a mix of influenza diseases generally. We can tell that apart
but they can't."
After our conversation with Dr. Matyas, public affairs officials
with the California Department of Public Health emphasized to
CBS News that they support CDC policy to stop counting individual
cases, maintaining that the state has the resources to gather
more specific testing data than the CDC.
Because of the uncertainties, the CDC advises even those who
were told they had H1N1 to get vaccinated unless they had lab
confirmation. "Persons who are uncertain about how they were
diagnosed should get the 2009 H1N1 vaccine."
That's unwelcome news for a Marietta, Georgia mom whose two children
were diagnosed with "probable" H1N1 flu over the summer.
She hoped that would mean they wouldn't need the hastily developed
H1N1 flu vaccine. However, since their cases were never confirmed
with lab tests, the CDC advises they get the vaccine. "I
wish they had tested and that I knew for sure whether they had
it. I'm not anxious to give them an experimental vaccine if they
don't need it."
Speaking to CBS' "60 Minutes," CDC Director Dr. Frieden
said he has confidence that the vaccine will be safe and effective:
"We're confident it will be effective we have every reason
to believe that it will be safe."
However, the CDC recommendation for those who had "probable"
or "presumed" H1N1 flu to go ahead and get vaccinated
anyway means the relatively small proportion of those who actually
did have H1N1 flu will be getting the vaccine unnecessarily. This
exposes them to rare but significant side effects, such as paralysis
It also uses up vaccine, which is said to be in short supply.
The CDC was hoping to have shipped 40 million doses by the end
of October, but only about 30 million doses will be available
The CDC did not response to questions from CBS News for this
Washington Unplugged: H1N1 Cases Exaggerated?
full list of h1n1 vaccine ingredients, alerts and warnings.
Reference Source: cbsnews.com
October 23, 2009