Thursday, June 18, 2009

Swine Flu

CDC has announced H1N1 flu as pandemic disease and my parents (back in India) were worried. Here are the few facts(as of June 12, 2009) that might ease their concern:
1. Respiratory mask are advised only to people with high risk of influenza (See table 1 at
Most of young college graduates do not fall into this category (unless you are studying health care or related fields). See

2. Number of confirmed or probable cases: 17,855
Number of Deaths: 44

Well, if you are an Indian, I guess you are pretty much immune to it (See Statistics of Malaria for India)
number of deaths | 9352 deaths per year
cause of death probability | 1 in 1110 ~~ 0.090%
rate of death | 1 death per 100000 persons per year
DAILY | 843 738 life years lost per year
DAILY rate | 80 life years per 100000 persons per year
For US, Statistics for Malaria are:
number of deaths | 3 deaths per year
cause of death probability | 1 in 768898 ~~ 0.00013%
rate of death | 0.0011 deaths per 100000 persons per year
DALY | 57 life years lost per year
Well, you can see statistically if you were not paranoid about fever or malaria or cold/cough in India (or US), you need not be worried about Swine flu either.

However, here are prescribed precautions by CDC for Swine flu:
  • Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.
  • Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
  • If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home for 7 days after your symptoms begin or until you have been symptom-free for 24 hours, whichever is longer. This is to keep from infecting others and spreading the virus further.
  • Follow public health advice regarding school closures, avoiding crowds and other social distancing measures.
Reference: Statistics are gathered from Wolfram Alpha and CDC

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