SHOOT: So much for swine flu = normal flu.
Health authorities in the United States have voiced concern that 40% of the country's whole population could be infected with the swine flu (H1N1) virus over the next 24 months. The estimates are based on data gleaned from the 1957 flu pandemic which killed nearly 70,000 people in the country. That pandemic was not as severe as the 1918-1919 Spanish flu one. If one hundred and twenty million people caught swine flu this time round, and vaccine campaigns were not successful, the eventual death toll could be in the hundreds of thousands.
Such a level of infection would be double the expected number during a normal flu season, say experts. However, if an effective vaccine were to come out in time many immunized people would show no symptoms - that is, if the vaccine worked and authorities managed to get enough of them out there.