Swine flu cases spike as vax stockpile is readied

The number of suspected swine flu cases in the U.S. spiked to 6,300 last week, with health care officials across the country confirming that virtually all newly diagnosed flu cases are being caused by the H1N1 virus. Altogether more than 27,000 probable and confirmed cases have been recorded at the CDC.

The rising volume of cases is likely to fuel the debate over the need for a national vaccination campaign this fall. Manufacturers and agencies are readying 600 million doses of new vaccine in development--enough to protect the entire population. And the first 60 million doses may be available for use in September. But so far officials have yet to determine if they will roll out a national vaccination campaign.

Scientists at the CDC have been scrambling to try to understand the new H1N1 virus. In a study with ferrets, the researchers concluded that the new flu can be slightly more severe than seasonal H1N1. It also doesn't spread as easily. But the scientists are tracking outbreaks in Australia, Chile and Argentina in the southern hemisphere to determine if the virus is becoming more virulent as it spreads around the globe. And fears persist that a second-wave of the virus in the fall could prove more deadly.

- read the report from the Wall Street Journal

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