When to Worry About Swine Flu

June 12 2009, 9:39 AM
As the World Health Organization announced that swine flu is sweeping the globe and now at the highest level--a full-scale pandemic for the first time since 1968--Coloradans seemed to be collectively shrugging their shoulders. Sure, news reporters reminded readers that global epidemics struck three times during the last century, killing millions of people each time. And papers like The Philadelphia Inquirer point out that the second wave of a flu pandemic tends to be more deadly than the first. Yet Colorado has reported just 75 cases since swine-flu mania began, as the Denver Business Journal notes. Moreover, health experts generally agree the unusual H1N1 flu strain isn't as deadly as some initially feared. It's expected to be quite similar to any other flu in terms of severity. Still, the BBC reports, swine flu isn't like typical flu strains. Those who get most seriously ill tend to be children or young adults, not the elderly. About half of the 140 worldwide deaths have been previously healthy people.