Monday, September 7, 2009

Unprecedented surge in flu may hit hospitals

By Dawn Kopecki • BLOOMBERG NEWS • September 7, 2009 The U.S. is bracing for as many as 1.8 million hospital admissions for flu as students return to school and cases surge to unprecedented levels, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Thomas Frieden said. "We generally expect that flu will go up after it starts, but this is really something we haven't seen before," Frieden said Sunday on CNN's State of the Union program. "It's very unusual to see it start to increase this rapidly in August and September." President Barack Obama's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology reported that as much as half of the U.S. population could become infected with swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus, leading to as many as 90,000 deaths. Middle Tennessee hospitals began preparing in the spring for large numbers of H1N1 infections, stocking up on medical supplies, instituting visitor policies to stop the spread and working out worst-case-scenario staffing schedules.

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