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Doctors advise against 'Swine-flu parties'

Category: Infectious Diseases

Health officials have candidly counseled against the idea held by some that early contact with H1N1 influenza will provide protection in the long-term.

Doctors from the University of Alabama at Birmingham's (UAB) Student Health Service are responding to the belief that intentionally mixing with infected individuals in so-called "swine-flu parties," detailing the risks of such an endeavor.

Officials believe some people got the idea for intentional exposure to the disease by extending the practice of giving putting children in contact with chicken pox and measles infections to give them biological resistance to subsequent strains.

"It's a very, very bad idea" said Walter White, doctor of osteopathic medicine. "It goes against everything medicine and public health are trying to do to encourage social distancing for the infected, and it could hamper efforts to control the disease."

White emphasizes that little is known about the 2009 H1N1 strain, which could cause severe illness and death.

The first series of H1N1 vaccine will be allocated to states in proportion to population and are recommended for children, pregnant women, healthcare workers and adults with some chronic health conditions.

In the meantime, White says "Preventing infection is the smartest way to go."

U.S. Health officials have observed that for every 1,000 people who are infected with H1N1, about 40 need hospitalization, and one dies.

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