U.S. officials working hard to prepare for next H1N1 wave

Working feverishly to prepare for the second wave of the H1N1 flu virus--which could be only weeks away--officials in the United States and across Northern Hemispheric countries are racing to prepare for its return.

The swine flu pandemic has already hit hard in the Southern Hemisphere, where it's currently mid-winter, hitting the poorest regions especially hard, international health officials reportedly told The Washington Post.

Experts admit that there could simply be a typical U.S. flu season this winter, with around 200,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths, the Post reports. However, others warn that the second wave of H1N1 infections could be more severe since the virus is new and few have had a chance to develop an immunity to it.

When all is said and done, experts say that as many as 40 percent of Americans could be affected by swine flu, according to CDC projections announced last month. U.S. officials hope to have 160 million doses of injectable swine flu vaccine on hand by October.

To learn more about flu preparations:
- read this UPI item

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