Washington, August 25 (ANI): In a recently released report, the Obama administration's advisory group on Science and Technology has said that the H1N1 flu virus, dubbed 'Swine flu', could cause as many as 30,000 and 90,000 deaths in the United States and pose a serious health threat.
According to Fox News, deaths would be concentrated among children and young adults, determined the report.
In contrast, the typical seasonal flu kills between 30,000 and 40,000 annually - mainly among people over 65.
The report predicts 1.8 million will be hospitalized during the epidemic, with up to 300,000 patients requiring intensive care units.
These patients could occupy 50-100 percent of all ICU beds in affected regions at the peak of the epidemic and would place "enormous stress" on ICU units.
More needs to be done to speed up the "preparation of flu vaccine for distribution to high-risk individuals," otherwise the vaccine campaign - currently scheduled to begin in mid October - will have potentially missed the peak of the epidemic, according to the report.
The report from the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, PCAST, shows a sober assessment of the dangers of a pandemic, but also serves as a pat on the back for a White House preparing for its first public health crisis.
"Based on the history of influenza pandemics over the past hundred years, PCAST places the current outbreak somewhere between the two extremes that have informed public opinion about influenza," stated the report.
"On the one hand, the 2009-H1N1 virus does not thus far seem to show the virulence associated with the devastating pandemic of 1918-19. On the other hand, the 2009-H1N1 virus is a serious threat to our nation and the world," it added.
This is due to the likelihood that more people will be infected because so few people have immunity to the strain.
As a result, PCAST recommends that the Food and Drug Administration "accelerate a decision about the availability of antiviral drugs for intravenous use."
The current expectation is that the vaccine will be available in mid-October.
According to Harold Varmus, PCAST co-chair and President of Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, despite the long 'to-do' list, the Obama administration has thus far done a good job of preparing for a national outbreak.
"The Federal Government's response has been truly impressive and we've all been pleased to see the high level of cooperation among the many departments and agencies that are gearing up for the expected fall resurgence of H1N1 flu," he said. (ANI)