CDC predicts H1N1 virus to affect 40% of Americans

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The Center for Disease Control and Prevention's Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices will meet Wednesday to decide on an approach for inoculating Americans against the H1N1 virus. That comes after the agency projected that the virus could affect up to 40% of the U.S. population.

The CDC's prediction includes both individuals who contract the swine flu and an estimated number of people who will forgo work to take care of sick friends or family members. The CDC also predicts that anywhere between 90,000 and "several hundred thousand" Americans could die of swine flu or swine flu-related illnesses over the course of the next two years, according to an Associated Press report. To derive this estimate, the CDC used the Asian Flu pandemic of 1957 as a model. An effective vaccine strategy, however, could curb the effects of the virus' spread, officials say.

There are 160 million doses of H1N1 vaccine on order by the U.S. government. These will be ready for distribution in October, pending the success of trials currently underway in Australia and scheduled to begin next week in the U.S., HealthDay reported. Recent reports from the World Health Organization suggest healthcare workers should be among the first to receive a vaccine. While average seasonal influenza strains typically kill 36,000 Americans each year, 90% of who are seniors, the swine flu has so far affected younger, relatively healthy individuals.