Truth About Influenza Deaths

Influenza Deaths in The United States

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states, what has become commonly accepted and widely reported in the press, that annually “about 36,000 [Americans] die from flu”  and “influenza/pneumonia” is the 7th leading cause of death in the U.S. The question is, why is influenza and pneumonia deaths paired together? Director of Harvard University Health Services, David Rosenthal, said “people don’t necessarily die, per se, of the flu virus. What they die of is a secondary pneumonia.”

A recent study actually found that stomach acid suppressing medications are associated with a higher risk of aquired pneumonia, but the medications and pneumonia are not paired together as one statistic.

According to the CDC’s National Center for Health Statistics (NCHS) “influenze/pneumonia” took 62,034 lives in 2001, 61,777 of which were attributed to pneumonia and 257 to the flu (and only 18 cases of that were positively identified as the flu.) The CDC uses indirect modeling methods to determine the average number of influenza deaths each year. CDC’s model calculated an average annual 36,155 deaths from influenza associated underlying respiratory and circulatory causes. Less than a quarter of these (8,097) were described as flu or flu associated underlying pneumonia deaths. Meaning, the publicized figure of 36,000 is not an estimate of annual deaths, but an estimate-generated by a model-of flu associated death.

At the 2004 “National Influenza Vaccine Summit” co-sponsored by the CDC and American Medical Association, Glen Nowak spoke on using the media to boost demand for the flu vaccine. Since flu is, in fact, not a major leading cause of death, the public relations approach is surely exaggerated. Moreover, by linking flu to pneumonia, the current data is statistically biased.

To read more about the misleading data of influenza, click here.

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