Children 4 to 5 Times More at Risk for H1N1 Flu Thompson Co-Chairs H1N1 Hearing

Sep 9, 2009

Washington, D.C.—In August the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology estimated that half of the U.S. population could contract the H1N1 influenza virus between fall 2009 and spring 2010, according to Dr. David T. Tayloe, President of the American Academy of Pediatrics.  He told a House of Representatives hearing today that the same advisors said the flu strain could result in the hospitalization of up to 1.8 million people and cause as many as 90,000 deaths—roughly double the normal flu season.

Tayloe testified today at a hearing on H1N1 in the House Committee on Small Business. U.S. Representative Glenn `GT’ Thompson, R-Howard, co-chaired the hearing due to the delayed arrival of the ranking member Rep. Sam Graves, R-Missouri.  The chairman is Rep. Nydia Velazquez, D-New York.

Tayloe went on to explain that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), calculates the infection risk in the 0 to 24 age group to be four to five times greater than for those 25 to 49.  He explained that children appear to have no immunity to the disease and said he anticipates the CDC will recommend children receive two doses of the H1N1 vaccine to obtain maximum protective benefit.

“Dr. Tayloe’s testimony is important for all parents.  We need to realize that young people and the aged are more at risk in this potential epidemic,” said Thompson.  “This hearing was important to also show the potential impacts to our small business communities and how they can prepare.”

Harold Jackson, a small business owner testified on behalf of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce on how small businesses will be affected by absenteeism when H1N1 takes hold.

Jackson said, “The U.S. Chamber recommends that small business owners select someone to be responsible for emergency planning, including infectious disease issues, at the workplace. Also, small business owners should update employee telephone rosters, buy emergency supplies (federal officials recommend storing a two-week supply of food and medical resources for work and home), and review emergency plans with employees.”

He explained his company has taken the following actions:
• Communicating with employees about H1N1 to increase awareness and education.
• Cleaning regularly key boards, desks, file cabinets, and other equipment.
• Installing hand-sanitation stations.
• Having a visiting nurse give free seasonal flu shots to employees, and requesting
   H1N1 shots when they become available.
• Purchasing additional copies of special software to allow employees to work from
   home.
• Considering limiting travel, should the pandemic worsen, to reduce the risk of 
   exposure to people with H1N1.

For additional information, go to:   www.flu.gov.

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