Saturday, January 01, 2011

#tcot #hcr Children's flu epidemic nears in UK as government cuts back vaccinations

Makes you wonder why the NHS in the UK is cutting back on flu vaccine requirements for children under five when they are usually in the high risk group, along with the elderly, pregnant women and the chronically ill. In result they are reaching a flu epidemic among children. Just over the weekend there were over 700 patients admitted to ICU with the flu and among those 42 of them were children. Only 23% have received shots, while 124 cases out of 100,000 patients in all age groups have become infected, reaching near epidemic proportions, 184 cases of children under five have been infected of 200 per 100,000 in all age groups. Once they reach 200 they will reach an epidemic among children under five, the age group the NHS has decided no longer needs flu vaccines.

If over 700 were admitted this weekend with the flu and the rate of infection continues, it sounds like more children in the UK, and adults will become infected, putting all age groups at risk especially children under five, pregnant mothers and the elderly. I hope they get it under control and something similar doesn't occur in the US. The UK claims the new requirements are not for cost effectiveness but for medical reasons, which contradicts all previous studies indicating the very young and elderly are at highest risk of infection. The Health Department also states there isn't a shortage of the vaccine, so why did they decide there was no longer a need to vaccinate children under five when they have been infected the most?? Sounds like rationing to me...
The Guardian UK reports
Flu cases among the under fives doubled over the Christmas period
Flu cases among children under five doubled over the Christmas period, but numbers are expected to rise even faster now that schools are reopening.

The flu outbreak gripping Britain is set to become a "children's epidemic" as new figures show that the number of under-fives being brought into doctors' surgeries with the illness doubled over the Christmas period.
With schools beginning to reopen this week after the Christmas and New Year break, experts believe the spread of the virus will escalate, taking the number of cases to epidemic level within the next week to 10 days.
NHS hospitals and GP surgeries are already under strain from the sharply rising levels of swine flu and other flu strains afflicting the population over the holiday period. The figures, collated by the research centre of the Royal College of General Practitioners, show there is no sign of a letup in the days ahead. Many hospitals are on "black alert" – canceling non-urgent operations and running short of available intensive care beds.
Some 738 people are reported to be in intensive care this weekend, including 42 children under five, up from 26 on the previous week.
The rise in the number of young children catching flu has led to further attacks on the government which has already been criticized for delaying the seasonal advertising campaign promoting flu vaccines, and for showing complacency over the limited uptake of vaccines among at-risk groups. Children were not stressed as a priority group while pregnant women, also now emerging as suffering unusually high levels of flu, were only given easier access to vaccines in the past week.
Only 23% of healthy children aged under five who are eligible for free flu vaccinations have taken them. The Department of Health was also slow in allowing GPs to use their own judgment in giving the vaccine to children over five, rather than limiting jabs to those with asthma or other severe chest complaints, heart conditions or diabetes.
Across England the highest incidence of flu is in the under-four age group – 184 cases per 100,000 babies and infants. Among the over-65s, the incidence last week was 36 cases per 100,000, while the average across all ages was 124 per 100,000 – a rise of 50% on the previous week. An epidemic is defined as 200 cases per 100,000 of population. Continue reading...
In a related story, The Daily Mail UK reports,a pregnant mother of four is fighting for her life after contracting swine flu.

Gemma Escott, 27, is in a medically induced coma and on life support as doctors battle to save her.

She was rushed to hospital on Christmas Day by her worried husband Martyn after she found herself struggling to breathe.

Mrs Escott, who is six months pregnant, has been diagnosed with both swine flu and pneumonia and her kidneys are thought to be failing.

Her husband is keeping a bedside vigil at the Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset.

Mrs Escott's mother-in-law Davinia Pendlebury, told The Sun: 'On Christmas Day, Gemma was complaining of chest pains and not being able to breathe.

'Martyn was so worried he took her to hospital. She is in a sedated coma and on life support. We're just hoping she will be OK.'

The latest case comes just days after pregnant mother Fallon Devaney recovered from the illness.

The 25-year-old had been admitted to intensive care two weeks ago. At one stage her family was told they might have to choose between trying to save Ms Devaney or her baby.

Martyn Escott is keeping a bedside vigil at the Yeovil District Hospital in Somerset.

However, the mother-of four from Nottingham made a remarkable recovery and was able to discharge herself from hospital on Christmas Eve.

She said: 'I wanted to be home for when the kids woke up.'

Her fiance David Bowler, 30, said his wife-to-be had assumed she had lost her baby when she woke from her coma and became teary when a midwife had let her listen to its heartbeat.

Miss Devaney is now at home spending time with her children over the festive period as she works her way back to full health after her ordeal.

Figures released last Friday show the number of patients in critical care - most of whom have swine flu - had more than doubled in a week, from 182 to 460.

In total, 27 have died of confirmed flu since October, with 24 of those dying of swine flu. Only one of those patients whose vaccine status was known had received a seasonal jab. Continue Reading....

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