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By yet another measure, there's nothing extraordinary about swine flu except the way a virus is being exploited for political reasons and to shore up sagging circulation figures. Just-released CDC figures indicate all of 36 swine flu deaths in children under age five.
How does that compare to seasonal flu?
"During the 2003-04, 2004-05, 2005-06, and 2006-07 seasons, a total of 153, 47, 46, and 73 pediatric deaths were reported through the influenza-associated pediatric mortality reporting system, respectively," says the report in the agency publication MMWR. The disproportion would be far greater if they tracked seasonal flu deaths with anything like the effort and accuracy with which they've been tracking those from swine flu.
Further, "28 of the 36 children whose deaths were associated with [swine flu] were in at least one of two groups previously found to be at increased risk for complications from seasonal influenza," says the CDC.
Yes, 36 toddler swine flu deaths are still 36 tragedies. But no, they're not greater tragedies than when those deaths come ordinary flu or anything else for that matter.