New wave of H1N1 pandemic called unlikely

Researchers with the National Institutes of Health say that a new wave of H1N1 pandemic is not likely because many Americans are now immune to the disease and vaccination rates for the flu season have been high.

Dr.David M. Morens, Dr Jeffery K. Taubenberger and Dr. Anthony S. Fauci, the authors of the study, believe that the high vaccination rates among children and young adults may even drive the strain to extinction, WebMD reports.

“History suggests that pandemic H1N1 likely faces extinction unless it mutates,” Morens told WebMD.

The authors did note that the H1N1 swine flu bug is not completely gone. They said the most likely scenario is that it will continue to circulate for a few years.

“It is noteworthy that other post-pandemic [flu] viruses have continued to cause various rates of excess mortality among younger persons for years after pandemic appearance,” Fauci told WebMD.

According to data already calculated by the National Institutes of Health researchers, more people may be immune to H1N1 swine flu than initially thought.

NIH statistics show that even before H1N1 swine flu appeared, some 19 percent of the population had pre-existing immunity, WebMD reports. Furthermore, 20 percent of the U.S. population received the H1N1 swine flu vaccine and another 20 percent of the U.S. population got swine flu.

Researchers pointed out that this means that at least 59 percent of Americans can't get H1N1 swine flu unless it mutates and over 67 percent of the population may be protected.

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