WASHINGTON — Although winter’s cold may be subsiding, the risk of serious illness or death associated with the flu still exists and now, a resurgence of the H1N1 virus is causing a dramatic rise in deaths of younger people.
H1N1, the “swine flu” strain responsible for the pandemic in 2009, has returned in tandem with the regular flu, says Dr. Anthony Fauci, director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease.
With this year’s flu season, a “disconcerting proportion” of the population that is being hospitalized with a risk for death are younger people between the ages of 18 and 64, Fauci adds.
Typically, those 65 and older or very young children are among the higher risk groups for flu deaths, but this year, 60 percent of those hospitalized are between 18 and 64, Fauci says.
“Younger people who feel they may be invulnerable to the serious consequences to the flu are not and it’s, again, the reason why we keep emphasizing everybody 6 months of age or older should get vaccinated,” he said on WTOP Thursday morning.
With at least another month left in the flu season, Fauci says it’s still not too late to get a flu vaccination.
“If you have not gotten vaccinated or if you’ve not gotten the flu, you’re vulnerable,” he said on WTOP.
Listen to the full interview with Fauci to the right.