Letters to the Editor

To the Editor: Swine flu article misses the point

By
Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Your recent article on H1N1 influenza (“U. preps for widespread H1N1 cases,” Sept. 8), while informative, fails to discuss the flu’s epidemiological aspects. First, the most serious danger is that H1N1 flu will mutate to a more virulent form, which could very well occur through interaction with the normal, seasonal flu. Still, data from April through July show that H1N1 has so far remained genetically stable.  

It seems that instead of combining genetically with existing influenza, swine flu is likely to either overpower it or occur alongside it. That means we’re likely to have a regular flu season plus a swine flu season.  Expect 30 percent to 50 percent infection rates for the flu this year.

Swine flu infects people younger than 25 at astonishingly high rates.  So it’s likely to be an equal-opportunity winter, with young and old at risk of infection. Vaccination for seasonal flu seems like a very good idea.

David Gurevich ‘11
Sept. 8