On Thursday, the CDC released the news that as of the end of August, 28 pregnant women have died from the swine flu, and 100 have been admitted to intensive care.
They don't have a lot with which they can compare these numbers, because they don't track the same thing with each year's seasonal flu. But they are concerned.
From the Healthday story:
These are really upsetting numbers," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during an afternoon press conference.
"We have obstetricians here at CDC who are coordinating the outreach as well as the surveillance efforts around it," she said. "And they're talking to doctors around the country who have never seen this kind of thing before. We don't track seasonal flu. We haven't in the past tracked seasonal flu complications in pregnancy. But what we are seeing is quite striking."
Schuchat said it's not yet clear whether there is something different about the H1N1 flu's effect on pregnant women, or whether researchers are noticing its effect on pregnant women more because the virus is being monitored closely.
"But I think the obstetric caregivers here and the ones that we're speaking with have rarely seen this kind of thing in practice," she said.
Schuchat urged pregnant women to get both the seasonal flu vaccine and the H1N1 swine flu vaccine, which will be available starting next week. Seasonal flu vaccines are already available.
"We encourage caregivers to vaccinate pregnant women or refer them to a place where they can be vaccinated," she said.
She also stressed that women, doctors and nurse midwives should remember that "antiviral medicine [such as Tamiflu] can be a very important treatment for pregnant women who have respiratory illness and influenza-like symptoms."
Here's the complete HealthDay story:
And here's the ABC World News report that you can watch, with a doctor who talks about why pregnant women may be more at risk:
So here's my question. If you are pregnant, are you planning to get a swine flu vaccine? Have you spoken with your doctor about it? What has she or he said to you?
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