The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has tabulated estimates of the toll the 2009 H1N1 pandemic took in the United States. The numbers are sobering and require no additional comments. The CDC tabulated the numbers through direct observation in 62 counties covering 13 metropolitan areas of 10 states, which were then extrapolated to the entire US Population. So without further ado, here is what the 2009 H1N1 pandemic did in the US.
- Total Cases – 60,837,748 (yep, millions) which break down as such:
- 0-17 years – 19,501,004
- 18-64 years – 35,392,931
- 65+ years – 5,943,813
- Hospitalizations – 274, 304 which break down as such:
- 0-17 years – 86,813
- 18-64 years – 160,229
- 65+ years – 27,263
- Deaths – 12, 469 which break down as such:
- 0-17 years – 1,282
- 18-64 years – 9,565
- 65+ years – 1,621
So, to put this in perspective. If you’re a 30-year-old such as myself, over 9,500 of our peers have died; 1,282 of our children are dead, and 1,621 of our parents are gone, all due solely to H1N1 flu. Chances are then, there is someone out there who lost his spouse, child and one parent to this disease. Makes you think twice about not vaccinating no?
Cause of death –H1N1 (Swine Flu)
Vaccination Status – Unvaccinated
What happened – Raymond Plotkin, was a freshman at the University of New Mexico. He was studying to become an engineer. He started class in August 2009 as a freshman interested in Chemical and Nuclear Engineering. He enjoyed his roommates and living in a dorm as part of the Engineering Living Learning Community. In 2009 he had the regular flu shot, but due to shortages of the vaccine, he wasn’t able to get the H1N1 vaccine.
While Raymond had health issues growing up, he had no problems in the last couple of years, according to family members. Doctors told the family they do not believe underlying health problems contributed to his death
He died on Wednesday evening of November 11, 2009, four days after being admitted in the hospital. Said Raymond’s mother:
“It was a terrible tragedy. It could have been prevented had there been vaccine,”
“We are strongly recommending that because Raymond couldn’t take his shot last year, that this year everyone, that whether you’re a child, adult, parent, grandparent, we all take one for Raymond,”
People are getting complacent about H1N1. Please remember what happened to Raymond and get both the seasonal flu and H1N1 vaccines as soon as you can.
Raymond’s family has set up a scholarship fund in honor of Raymond’s memory. The first scholarship was awarded to Sean Chavez, a 2010 graduate of Albuquerque High School and computer engineering student at UNM.
For more information about the fund, please contact Susan Georgia, UNM School of Engineering Development Office at 505 – 277-0664; firstname.lastname@example.org.
Contributions can be sent to:
UNM Foundation/Raymond Plotkin Fund
ATTN: Susan Georgia, Development Office
UNM School of Engineering
Centennial Engineering Center
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87131 – 0001
My deepest condolences go to Raymond’s family. I am very sorry for your loss.
The bad news keep on coming; the 10th baby, yet another 6-week-old, has succumbed to the whooping cough outbreak in California. All the babies who have died this year were too young to be fully immunized, so health officials are urging parents and caretakers to get booster shots to create a cocoon of immunity around vulnerable children. Our hearts and thoughts go to the families of these 10 innocent infants during these tragic times in their lives. We are very sorry for your loss.
Age at death – 16 years
Cause of death – Meningococcus
Vaccination Status – Unvaccinated
What happened – MaryJo was a vibrant and intelligent girl who thoroughly loved life. Her mother, Rose, is a registered nurse. Early Saturday morning as Rose was getting ready for work, MaryJo complained of a sore throat. Rose examined her, but noted no unusual signs and recommended some Tylenol and lots of fluids. She checked on her later but MaryJo only mentioned feeling a little weak. In the afternoon, MaryJo telephoned her mother because she had developed brownish spots on her face. This was the first ominous sign that she was very ill. Rose was terrified as it hit her that she might have meningitis! This disease is frightening because it masquerades as the flu then suddenly bursts into a deadly conflagration.
She rushed home and found MaryJo seated on the sofa with blotchy purplish rash on her face. Brown rashes or purplish blotches indicate the infection has invaded the blood stream. Rose immediately called 911. She was taken to the emergency room where blood work and a spinal tap confirmed the diagnosis. Her body was overwhelmed by the infection that her condition deteriorated rapidly. Thirteen hours after her initial symptoms, MaryJo died from a bacterial blood infection that is vaccine-preventable. Writes Rose:
I felt devastated like the world just imploded in me! My heart was pierced right in the middle by this sharp awful arrow and weighted by a gigantic anvil. MaryJo’s face, with a tranquil smile, was still beautiful despite its purplish hue. I felt her presence hovering for a moment, before she ascended with the angels. Everybody was in a state of shock and disbelief due to the unexpected loss of this young and gifted person.
The sudden death of a healthy teenager is a shock to everyone. According to CDC (Centers for Disease Control and prevention), the Sacramento County Health Dept. and local practicing physicians, “the meningococcal vaccine is not recommended because it is expensive, the number of cases is rare, vaccinating teenagers is not cost effective and the number of deaths are negligible”. However, the devastating effect of losing a loved one to this disease is anything but “negligible”.MaryJo is remembered for her loving, spirited dedication to helping others. In her journal she wrote: “Others should be remembering us for our positive influence on the lives of those around us. We should be known because we changed someone’s life”.
The lives of our children will not be in vain. I want others to know that meningitis can happen to anyone, anywhere and at anytime even to accomplished healthy teens. Since MaryJo’s death, MAK – Meningitis Awareness Key to prevention, a nonprofit organization, was founded to campaign for increased meningitis awareness, to advocate for legislation & resolutions, and to collaborate with other agencies in support of meningitis vaccination programs.
My deepest condolences go out to MaryJo’s mother and the rest of her family. I am very sorry for your tragic loss.
Whooping cough has claimed the live of another infant, this time in Grant County, Seattle.
Grant County Public Health officials said they have two confirmed cases of whooping cough, or pertussis. Both reports were received this week but there doesn’t appear to be a connection between the two cases, said spokeswoman Theresa Fuller.
The infant, who was being treated at Seattle Children’s Hospital, died Tuesday night, Fuller said. The other child is recovering at home.
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic death of this baby,” said Dr. Alexander Brzezny, Grant County health officer.
Cause of death – Complications from H1N1
Vaccination Status – Unvaccinated
What happened – In November 2009, Jessica Holt’s older son, Joey Holt, was sent home from school with a 103-degree fever. He complained of a stomach ache. Two days later, she took him to see a doctor, who sent them home with a prescription for antibiotics and a recommendation for fluids and rest.
That night, Joey kept vomiting. His skin was pale and felt like an ice cube, his mother said. She called 911. En route to the hospital, Holt watched as Joey’s heart rate dropped from 150 to 50 beats a minute.
He said, “I love you, Mama. Hold my hand.”
Then, “he was gone,” Holt said.
“If I had gotten my son Joey vaccinated, maybe he’d be here right now,” Holt said. “You don’t want to walk in my shoes. I live every day with that regret: Why didn’t I do it?”
My heart goes out to Jessica and her family; I am very sorry for your loss.
Gaitley, almost lost her life to a serious bacterial infection called meningococcal disease, when she was 4 years old. On New Year’s Eve 1997, Gaitley wasn’t feeling well so her mother, Heidi, took her to an Ear, Nose, and Throat doctor, who diagnosed her with an ear infection and sent her home to rest. However, by the next day, Gaitley’s temperature rose to 106 degrees, and she began vomiting and became weak and delusional. When a purplish rash developed on her daughter’s body, Heidi realized her daughter might be suffering from something more serious and had Gaitley’s father rush their daughter to a local hospital.
Once at the hospital, an emergency-room doctor recognized the purplish rash as a classic symptom of meningococcal disease and decided to transport Gaitley to another hospital better equipped to handle her condition. Gaitley was taken to the hospital where Heidi worked. Shortly after arriving, her heart, kidneys, and pancreas began to fail and her lungs started to fill up with fluid. The infection in her blood also caused tissue damage in her extremities, resulting in the amputation of Gaitley’s toes on her left foot. In all, Gaitley was in the hospital for 40 days.
But her troubles didn’t end there; eight years later, at the age of 12, doctors had to amputate Gaitley’s left leg below the knee due to further complications resulting from meningococcal disease. This is what Gaitley’s mom said:
“There is a vaccination out there that prevents this from happening,” she said. “I’ve been talking about this for a while now… And it’s hard to get someone’s attention unless something happens… once that happened (the Clemson student died), it was like ‘Oh gosh! This is in our community.”
I am very sorry for all the pain Gaitley and her family have had to go through. On the other hand I am very happy to hear that they are out there advocating for, and educating the public about, the meningococcal vaccine, so that others can be spared the traumatic experience they had to endure. Thank you.