It was reported on Wednesday that the swine flu figures since July have been entirely fabricated, since the Center for Disease Control instructed states at that time to stop testing for H1N1. Prior to the ban, they found that more than 80% of the referred cases did not turn out to be swine flu.
If you've been diagnosed "probable" or "presumed" 2009 H1N1 or "swine flu" in recent months, you may be surprised to know this: odds are you didn’t have H1N1 flu.
In fact, you probably didn’t have flu at all. That's according to state-by-state test results obtained in a three-month-long CBS News investigation...
In late July, the CDC abruptly advised states to stop testing for H1N1 flu, and stopped counting individual cases. The rationale given for the CDC guidance to forego testing and tracking individual cases was: why waste resources testing for H1N1 flu when the government has already confirmed there's an epidemic?
State health officials were angered at the unilateral decision by the federal agency to halt tracking the virus.
Some public health officials privately disagreed with the decision to stop testing and counting, telling CBS News that continued tracking of this new and possibly changing virus was important because H1N1 has a different epidemiology, affects younger people more than seasonal flu and has been shown to have a higher case fatality rate than other flu virus strains.
CBS News learned that the decision to stop counting H1N1 flu cases was made so hastily that states weren't given the opportunity to provide input. Instead, on July 24, the Council for State and Territorial Epidemiologists, CSTE, issued the following notice to state public health officials on behalf of the CDC:
"Attached are the Q&As that will be posted on the CDC website tomorrow explaining why CDC is no longer reporting case counts for novel H1N1. CDC would have liked to have run these by you for input but unfortunately there was not enough time before these needed to be posted."
Despite the lack of real data, drug and vaccine manufacturers are anticipating tens of billions in potential profits from a swine flu outbreak. Thus, they have been peppering politicians with contributions to gain favor for government contracts.
For instance Roche, the maker of the antiviral treatment Tamiflu, made donations of $20,000 to Florida Senate candidate Kendrick Meek, $50,000 to Senator Chris Dodd, and over $100,000 to Senator John McCain. AstraZeneca, the manufacturer of FluMist, has contributed $25,000 to Senator Arlen Specter and over $50,000 to Senator Max Baucus. GlaxoSmithKline, producer of the vaccine Arepanrix, gave $60,000 to Senator Mitch McConnell.
A major pitfall for the vaccines is the compressed time schedule with which they are being rushed to market. Those who are considering taking the drug should proceed with caution and seek the advice of a licensed physician, since it has been reported in Europe that neurologists have concerns over its safety.
A warning that the new swine flu jab is linked to a deadly nerve disease has been sent by the Government to senior neurologists in a confidential letter.
The letter from the Health Protection Agency, the official body that oversees public health, has been leaked to The Mail on Sunday, leading to demands to know why the information has not been given to the public before the vaccination of millions of people, including children, begins.
It tells the neurologists that they must be alert for an increase in a brain disorder called Guillain-Barre Syndrome (GBS), which could be triggered by the vaccine.
A swine flu vaccine distributed in 1976 caused 500 people to develop GBS and resulted in the death of 25 people.
The episode began in February 1976, when an Army recruit at Ft. Dix, N.J., fell ill and died from a swine flu virus thought to be similar to the 1918 strain. Several other soldiers at the base also became ill. Shortly thereafter, Wenzel and his colleagues reported two cases of the flu strain in Virginia.
"That raised the concern that the original cluster at Ft. Dix had spread beyond New Jersey," said Wenzel, former president of the International Society for Infectious Diseases.
At the CDC, Sencer solicited the opinions of infectious disease specialists nationwide and, in March, called on President Ford and Congress to begin a mass inoculation. The $137-million program began in early October, but within days reports emerged that the vaccine appeared to increase the risk for Guillain-Barre syndrome, a rare neurological condition that causes temporary paralysis but can be fatal...
More than 500 people are thought to have developed Guillain-Barre syndrome after receiving the vaccine and 25 died. No one completely understands what causes Guillain-Barre in certain people, but the condition can develop after a bout with infection or following surgery or vaccination. The federal government paid millions in damages to people who developed the condition or their families.
60 Minutes – 1976 Swine Flu Scare
Doctors have been urged to keep watch for any outbreaks of GBS in the current crop of vaccines.
It is not known for sure whether the vaccine or the flu was responsible and the current H1N1 swine flu jabs due to be introduced in October are very different to the version used thirty years ago, Government scientists have said.
However specialist doctors here are being urged to report every case of Guillain-Barre syndrome to the Health Protection Agency so the circumstances of each patient can be investigated.
Meanwhile the Health and Human Services Secretary, Kathleen Sebelius, has been aggressively pimping the swine flu vaccine to Americans.
Said Sebelius: "There's no question the disease is out there, which is why today we're rolling out PSAs (public service announcements) ... to make sure people take steps to help prevent the spread of the disease, and in the meantime we will push the vaccine out as quickly as we get it off the production lines."
Appearing on CBS's "The Early Show," she said the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the President's Advisory Committee on Immunizations have identified five target populations: pregnant women, health care workers, children with underlying health conditions ages 6 months to 24 years, older Americans with underlying health conditions.
"That's a lot of people," Sebelius said. "That's about half the population."
"By the end of this week," she added,"we'll begin to have injectable vaccine also available. We're dealing with five production companies. That's very good news. But the vaccine will become available as the lines clear up. So as soon as we have any vaccine available, we're pushing it out to 90,000 sites around the country. The early going is a little bumpy but we'll have a good supply by October."
Behind the scenes, however, the HHS Secretary has granted legal immunity to drug makers in case another bout of GBS breaks out.
The document signed by Sebelius last month grants immunity to those making a swine flu vaccine, under the provisions of a 2006 law for public health emergencies. It allows for a compensation fund, if needed.
The government takes such steps to encourage drug companies to make vaccines, and it's worked. Federal officials have contracted with five manufacturers to make a swine flu vaccine.
Understandably, more than one-third of parents will instruct those conducting school vaccination programs to stay away from their kids.
Some parents say they are concerned about side effects from the new vaccine... the mother of a 5-year-old boy named Emmett, says the vaccine is too new and too untested.
"I will not be first in line in October to get him vaccinated," she said in an interview last month. "We're talking about putting an unknown into him. I can't do that."
The AP poll found that 38 percent of parents said they were unlikely to give permission for their kids to be vaccinated at school.
Doctor Refuses to Give Vaccine to His Kids
Woman Crippled from Flu Vaccination