This is the VOA Special English Health Report.
H1N1 flu virus that has spread around the world is especially risky for
pregnant women. If they become infected, especially after the first three
months of pregnancy, they can get very sick or even die. Cases of fetal death have
also been reported.
women face an increased risk even during outbreaks of seasonal influenza. But
the new H1N1 flu has been affecting a younger age group than seasonal flu epidemics.
The W.H.O. says pregnant women should take the
antiviral drug Tamiflu as soon as possible after they show signs of illness. The
drug is also called oseltamivir.
agency says treatment should begin immediately and not wait for the results of
laboratory tests. The effect are greatest when given within forty-eight hours.
But experts say the medicine could still do some good even if there is a delay.
Since April, more than one thousand deaths have been reported
from the H1N1 virus, commonly called swine flu. But so far the virus has not
shown itself to be more severe than seasonal flu.
The World Health
Organization has predicted that the H1N1 virus will infect at least two billion
people in the next two years. Agency chief Margaret Chan has expressed concern
there is not a good process in place to produce enough vaccine against the
In the United
States, there are now guidelines for the use of H1N1 vaccine when it becomes
available. An advisory committee of the Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention said there are five groups that should be vaccinated first.
These include pregnant women and people
who live with or care for children younger than six months. They also include workers
in health care and emergency services, and people between six months and
twenty-four years of age.
The fifth group on the list is people
twenty-five to sixty-four with chronic health problems.
supplies are limited, then the committee says two groups of children should be vaccinated
before other children. One group is those who are six months to four years old.
The other is those five to eighteen with chronic medical conditions.
April, after the first cases in the United States, officials told schools to
close at the first sign of an H1N1 outbreak. The government later eased those
warnings. Since then officials have been reported working on final guidelines for
when schools should close.
And that's the VOA
Special English Health Report, written by Caty Weaver. For more health news, go
to voaspecialenglish.com. I'm Steve Ember.