Mainstream Media Misrepresenting the Actual Number of Swine Flu Cases

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The mainstream media is deliberately misrepresenting the actual number of H1N1 swine flu cases in the United States, stubbornly reporting 91 “official” cases. This number is wrong. It is not an accurate representation of the real  number of cases swine flu cases in the U.S.

For example:

The Illinois Department of Public Health is tracking 12 likely cases of swine flu. Five of them in Chicago, including a 12-year-old girl whose illness prompted today’s closing of  Kilmer Elementary School on Chicago’s North Side. In addition to the five cases in Chicago, two are in Kane County, one in DuPage County and one in Lake County, Arnold said. The people range in age from 6 to 57 years old.

State public health officials in San Bernardino and Riverside counties in the Inland Empire area of Southern California are  preparing to announce at least one case of swine flu in San Bernardino County and four possible cases in Riverside County. Two people have been hospitalized in Riverside. One is an 87-year-old woman.

In the San Francisco Bay Area, two cases of H1N1 swine flu involving an unidentified woman, 60, and her 20-month-old granddaughter have been confirmed in Marin County. In nearby Sacramento, a 13-year old boy is recovering from a case of swine flu.

The Marion County Health Department in Indianapolis, IN is awaiting results from two suspected cases of the virus. Indiana has had one confirmed case of the disease. A University of Notre Dame student became Indiana’s first confirmed case of swine flu and the state is awaiting results from samples in about 30 suspected cases.

In Monroe County, the Rochester metro area has 13 suspected cases, including seven in Monroe County, four in Ontario County and two in Wayne County. In Orange, Suffolk and Cortland counties, health officials are awaiting the results from three additional suspected cases.

More than 30 U.S. Marines at the Southern California base located in 29 Palms, in the High Desert are being confined to quarters after one Marine tested positive for the H1N1 swine flu Wednesday.

It’s is time for the mainstream media to stop trying to sugar coat what has rapidly become a very real public health issue with the potential to impact the entire country and every American citizen.

This entry was posted in Epidemics, International News, News, Public Health, Public Safety, Swine Flu and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

40 Responses to Mainstream Media Misrepresenting the Actual Number of Swine Flu Cases

  1. libhomo says:

    I read today about a case in South Africa. This is global.

  2. Kristin says:

    Hey Christopher, good postings. I wanted to add my insight as a clinical microbiologist (I am not a virologist but have a good bit of working knowledge). I don’t believe this is that serious yet. What we are doing is taking precaution for when the big one hits this is a good test run. However what is not helping is the media hyping this up. The best thing anyone can do is cough into your elbow not your hand (the hand is old practice), constantly wash your hands.

    We have to remember that the swine flu is currently treatable with tamiflu which this seasons latent flu has developed a resistance to.

    Another thing to keep in mind is that every year roughly 3800 (according to the cdc) individuals die from flu-like symptoms. Swine flu one death on our land (and the child was actually visiting from Mexico) does not create an epidemic. We are in good shape. Take your standard precautions. At this point I don’t see this being as big a deal as the media is hyping. What this is is a good dress rehearsal. Hope that helps. Josh is also giving out good info, I just wanted to give you a prespective from a different viewpoint.

  3. Big Hank says:

    I read in Imperial County, CA, public health officials have 2 dozen blood samples out for suspected cases and as you say, not a peep in the corporate media.

    What are they afraid of? We might shut our TV off and not buy food at McDonald’s or buy gasoline?

  4. Kristin says:

    Big Hank, currently blood test are not the offical way to test for this virus so I am not sure how accurate that information is.

  5. Kristin says:

    Excuse me instead of official I should use the term preferred

  6. Peace Nick says:


    What about the immuno-compromised?

    People undergoing treatment for cancer and people with HIV? Are they going to to be the first wave of American deaths to sweep the country? Do they respond to the Tamiflu?

    I heard a doctor on the local station say the elderly will probably not survive a bout of H1Ni flu. All four of my grandparents are living and all four are over 80 year of age.

  7. Kristin says:

    Peace Nick,
    The elderly, immunocompromised, and children are always at highest risks when it comes to even the regular flu. As far as deaths I don’t anticpate more than we would see with our normal flu viruses. Will the immunocompromised responed to tamiflu I don’t know that would depend on a number of factors such as what underlying conditions are they currently experiencing.

    The older population SHOULD TAKE extra precaution , not because this is swine flu now knows as the North American Influenza but because any flu virus can be hurtful in the eldery population.

    I repeat there at this point is not a need for mass hysteria. I am working with flus every day this week. We in the lab are taking precaution but none of us are particulary concern. No lab employees were I work have become ill.

  8. enigma4ever says:

    Tamiflu should be offered to Immuno-compromised and the elderly and the young, but it sounds like it is being held as Treatment for actual infection?

    This strain is attacking even young and healthy- it might be more valuable to save the tamilfu for treatment and do proactively give the Medical Community to protect them ?

    About tracking Incidence: It sounds like the CDC updates their website every morning with the latest numbers, and they are only listing CONFIRMED cases, so they are not listing all of the people that are being tested or tracked, or that have symptoms. They also have not been reporting the Hospitalized- and they should. They also are not listing AGES- and our local Infectious Dr on TV at noon said that more than 70% of those sick are under 18- that is important to know. Sadly the tests are All being sent to CDC , Georgia- so there is an actual delay or lag of about 2 days to gettting actual information of actual illness.

    On the news they keep saying that 30,000 die a year due to Flu- that is Nothing to reassure us or be proud of- that is because 50 Million do not have care or insurance- it is also mostly elderly and immune compromised…..

    (( This strain is effecting young healthy people….
    and children- so it is concerning….and one of the problems is that tamiflu has not been used in children or babies before- and no one is talking about if it is effective.))

    About the toddler that died in Texas- came from Mexico- was sick when he came- went to Brownsville Hospital for Care, then over weekend was transferred to Houston Childrens Hospital and died monday Night-It was thought it was pneumonia- but the test came back as H1N1, He was sick for a total of 13 days, and “did not respond to treatment” said the Houston doctor today at the Presser, so we don’t know what he was treated with. The Medical Staff at both those hospitals are now being monitored and treated according to the presser, and Perry did declare an Emergency and Aid for his state.

  9. enigma4ever says:

    The Thing that no one is talking about is that Children RARELY get sick or die of flu- healthy children…and Mexico has NOT released the Information about the Actual >2000 cases in Mexico- ages, etc.

    Also we need to start focusing on protecting the caregivers, and docs and nurses, supposedly in Mexico ( according to Mexican papers) the caregivers are getting sick , that is important for us to know here- and let’s hope that the Caregivers are amoung the first offered Tamiflu.

    ( I work at a Free Clinic for the poor- you can bet I am going to ask…how it is to be given out.)

    Also the WHO conference this afternoon DrChan was very very focused that the POOR are at huge risk- we in this country must remember that 50 Million are without care or insurance- we must make sure they are offered care and needed meds…that they are not shut out….

  10. enigma4ever says:

    Kristin ::
    what is the preffered test – here in Ohio there are “blood samples ” out too- so what is the “preferred” ?

  11. Kristin says:

    @Engima I get hourly updates that the public does not have access too without divluging too much information there were other things going on with the child besides the flu.

    Tamiflu is not the same as the a vaccine and therefore would be ineffective as a proactive measure. I hope this information helps.

    At this point their is no vaccine and one will not be created fast enough to be effective for the North American Influenza. A person MUST be vaccinated at least a minium of 14 days prior to season, which is why they ask for people to begin flu vaccinations in october before the season hits.

    Proactive treatment is preventative measures such as Josh was describing in a previous post.

  12. Brigadoon says:

    One of my best friends has been living with HIV for a decade. He’s doing great with meds but his health is far from perfect and naturally, the irony isn’t lost on him of surviving HIV, but possibly dying from a fucking pig flu. None of it makes any sense.

  13. Kristin says:

    Enigma, we in Texas are using nasophyaregneal swabs placed in viral transport media which supports the growth of the virus.

  14. Sam says:

    The reason that the media is not reporting these numbers is because the only lab currently capable of confirming the cases is the CDC. The local labs can only identify the general strain of flu. It would be irresponsible for the media to report on unconfirmed cases and only incite panic. Although the number is going to grow, we have to wait for CDC confirmation.

  15. Kristin says:

    Engima, I recieve hourly updates that the public does not have access to and I will say this much the kid that died had a lot more going on than just the flu.

    Tamiflu is not a vaccination and should only be given when an actual infection is confirmed.

  16. Kristin says:

    Sam you are absoutely correct thank you for putting that information out there.

  17. VicoDANIEL says:

    I listened to WABC-AM last night and they had this guy on who had worked civil defense for over 20 years before retiring in 2000.

    He said the way the Tamiflu will be distributed works like this. By order of priority:

    1. the four branches of the military
    2. the state national guard units
    3. the president and his family, the vice president and his family
    4. the US Congress
    5. the president’s cabinet
    6. the US Supreme Court
    5. state governors, state legislators
    6. corporate leaders, CEOs and CFOs
    7. state and local police
    8. and finally, the American people

    We’re dead last, providing there is any Tamiflu left. Got to love America.

  18. enigma4ever says:

    Thanks Kristin – that is good to know- sorry the toddler had more than the Flu- so it does sound like he was perhaps immune compromised or fragile- I just watched the National news and it sounded that way.

    About the testing – now here in Ohio they are saying that they are doing swabs ( last night they said blood samples- an ER doc said it) so hopefully that will now be cleared up all over.

    So I am still confused- are the swabs tested in each state or are they still all sent to CDC ? It makes sense that the numbers will rise and that there is a delay if labs are being shipped right ?

  19. Kristin says:

    Swabs are tested in the local clinics and hospitals positives are sent to the state and from there to the CDC. So yes there is a delay but the CDC is tracking for all flu strains not just the swine flu.

  20. Josh says:

    Tamiflu does work as “Chemoprophylaxis,” see CDC website. Or at least i hope it does, as I will potentially taking care of a lot of infected people.
    The problem is that we need to contain the disease by using prevention, not just give Tamiflu to everyone. There is not enough doses to give it to every person and it could create a future disease that does not respond to Tamiflu.
    A vaccine is the answer. But unfortunately, that takes a while.

  21. Bll Hussein O'Reilly says:

    Can someone explain why Americans are still vacationing in Mexico?

    My email box is full of travel ads from American Express and American Airlines offering tantalizing deals for Mexican holidays. Better put a gun to my head and pull the trigger than go to Cancun.

  22. Josh says:

    The problem with the rapid swabs that we use in the ED’s is that they just confirm Influenza type A, which doesn’t tell us if it is the seasonal flu or swine. So they have to be sent off for now. But, I don’t think the treatment would be any different at this point.

  23. Kristin says:

    Josh the use of tamiflu as “Chemoprophylaxis”is correct however, there is not enough of this to use in this manner. Tamiflu will only be used in this manner for those of high risk. As a lab worker we are not expected to receive Tamiflu. And I am running the tests. Currently in the hospital I work we have only a little over 400 vials not enough to vaccinate hosptial personnel and those truly affected by the virus.

  24. Josh says:

    Kristin, you are technically correct. But I will be doing face to face patient care. It is spread by droplets: Sneezing and coughing. So those of us who will be caring for quarantine and active virus patients will be taking Tamiflu. This has been part of the pandemic plan for years.
    But you are correct that there are not enough doses for everyone, so we need prevention to halt the spread.

  25. Josh says:

    Question about the 400 “vials” Kristen? Of what? Is there an IV preparation for Tamiflu. I know about the suspension and the pill but….. please provide info if you can.

  26. Kristin says:

    Josh, best of luck to you and the patients you are treating. You are providing great information here on Christopher’s site. I wish you and the state you are in well. And with any luck this will pass within the next 14 days.

  27. Kristin says:

    Josh this website may help
    and to my knowledge Tamiflu does not come in an IV. I deal with mostly bacterial infections and therefore antibotics. So I am not a hundred percent sure. I think the above website will be helpful

  28. Josh says:

    Thanks Kristin,
    I am part of a medical corps that go to Katrina, the Inauguration, etc to provide public health, mass evacuation, etc for the public. I love what I do and do not mind taking reasonable risks.
    I hope this fizzles out and that we can all go back to our normal lives soon. Thanks for your info.

  29. Kristin says:

    Josh I provided a website url but my comments went to moderation because of it. Hopefully Christopher will take care of that soon.

    But to answer your question you are correct Tamiflu does not come in an IV to my knowledge only oral doses.

    When I said 400 vials I was speaking of what we currently have stockpiled in my hospital. Perry declared a state of emergency so that Texas could be first on the list for any extra Tamiflu that is available.

  30. Randy Arroyo says:

    I never bought the official US or Mexican figures on the sick and dead. They don’t pass the smell test and I don’t trust the Federal government to tell us what is really happening. I mean, if after 45 years, they won’t tell us who really killed John F. Kennedy, why should we believe them about the real figures of the sick and dead from swine flu?

  31. lea-lea says:

    Anyone heard the rumor that film stars Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber son was hospitalized in LA with suspected swine flu?

    The toddler displayed all the classic symptoms of the swine flu but luckily he made full recovery.

  32. Conejo1982 says:

    Lea Lea-

    Haven’t heard about any celebrity cases of swine flu but I did hear there’s a case in Costa Rica which would be the first case in Central America.

    So we’re talking about 4 continents now.

  33. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    Truth told, I’ve always suspected I had something up with my immuno system.

    I’m always the first to catch a cold
    I’m allergic to nuts, fish and milk
    I cough and sneeze and itch half the year

    The doctors are useless, dude. When I ask, they just say, “welcome to the club.” No one I know is sick as much as me. The doctors tell me I’m fine but I don’t buy it.

  34. They are tracking nearly a hundred “suspected” cases of swine flu where I live in Texas near the Mexican border. I’m sure some of those will turn out to be confirmed, and some will probably not. As it is, there’s really no reason for the national news to report “suspected” cases. You have to confirm them, and that takes time. They say they have sent the samples to Austin for testing. I believe they have to sequence the DNA to determine whether it is indeed swine flu or something else.

    As for the reports coming out of Mexico, they haven’t had their act together in that country in like, forever. It’s very disorganized down there, and indeed, there were some doctors on the BBC website that were blogging from Mexico City. They pretty much said that no one knows what’s going on down there. It’s infuriating to have to wait, but it seems we have no choice. I just hope people keep washing their hands often and don’t sneeze on me.

  35. Nigel Karston says:

    The Times said this morning the UK will get a million doses of the antiviral drug, Tamiflu, first to NHS workers and the balance to go to hospitals and clinics.

    Doctors and nurses will receive medication to use as a precaution if they come into contact with anyone suspected of carrying the swine flu strain.

    Gordon Brown said that three new cases had been confirmed yesterday in England, including a 12-year-old girl, whose school was closed and her classmates given the antiviral drugs. A 41-year-old woman from Birmingham and a 22-year-old man from London were also confirmed as having been infected. It takes the total number of confirmed cases in Britain to five.

  36. JollyRoger says:

    I don’t know if the MSM is really underreporting, or the reports coming in are too scattered to aggregate yet. I think that they have at least done a decent job of making us aware of the danger.

  37. Rachel says:

    Arizona Leatherneck – Have you ever gone to an allergist? I used to sneeze and wheeze from spring to fall, eyes red, coughing — I was quite a picture and none of the OTC pills helped. I finally referred to an allergist and had a few skin tests, followed by annual desensitizing shots and my allergy problem disappeared. I wish I had gone 10 years earlier.

  38. Aunt Peg says:

    It’s getting so I don’t want to leave my house.

  39. Fran says:

    The CDC is ONLY reporting confirmed cases, but Google has an interactive map that includes suspected cases (pending confirmation).,-110.390625&spn=15.738151,25.488281&z=5

  40. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    Thanks, Rachel.

    You got me to thinking. Maybe I should see an allergist.

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