July 30: Summer camp flu outbreaks presage fall surge


source: Outbreaks of the H1N1 flu among children attending U.S. summer camps presage a surge in cases this fall as students return to school, an official at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warned on Wednesday.

“This is just a harbinger of what we will see in the fall,” Dr. Richard Besser, who led the U.S. response to the virus outbreak last spring, told a meeting of public health officials.

Besser, who was the CDC’s acting director for the first half of this year, later told Reuters that the number of outbreaks in summer camps was in the hundreds.

He predicted soaring numbers of H1N1 cases compared to those seen in April when the first U.S. cases were diagnosed in California and urged health officials to plan now for the possibility of crowded hospitals, swamped emergency rooms and overwhelmed clinics.

“The magnitude of the event in the fall will be much greater (than what was experienced last spring),” Besser said.



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