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Originally published October 3 2014

Health professionals claim the flu kills 49,000 people per year, urge Americans to ignore Ebola and get flu shots

by David Gutierrez, staff writer

(NaturalNews) As flu season approaches, the U.S. media have been filling up with stories claiming that the flu is far more dangerous than Ebola, and urging people to stop worrying about Ebola and just get flu shots instead. These stories have been repeating the common misinformation that the flu kills thousands or even tens of thousands of people nationally each year.

But the truth is that very few people die from the flu. In fact, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) deliberately manipulates the numbers of flu deaths in order to convince people that they need to protect themselves against a deadly disease by getting vaccinated.

How deadly is influenza?

One story comparing Ebola and the flu extensively quoted Virginia Caine, an Associate Professor of Medicine in the Division of Infectious Diseases at Indiana University School of Medicine.

"It's amazing because influenza we know can cause anywhere from 3,000 to 49,000 deaths a year, depending on the severity of the strain," Caine said.

The article then notes that more than 7,000 people have been infected with Ebola and more than 3,000 killed, "the vast majority of the patients being from west Africa.

"The flu, on the other hand, will hospitalize over 200,000 Americans this year," the article claimed.

"We lost nearly 115 children last year to the flu," Caine said. "It can be very devastating."

"[I]nfluenza can kill. It is life-threatening."

But how often does influenza really kill? According to the National Vital Statistics System, which tracks data recorded on death certificates, only 500 people died from the flu in all of 2010. This was dramatically lower than deaths from causes such as ulcers (2,977) and hernias (1,832), and in a completely different league from major killers such as cancer (574,743) or heart disease (597,689). Statistics in Canada are similar.

In fact, studies published in the American Journal of Public Health and The BMJ suggest that even 500 deaths per year might be an exaggerated figure. These studies showed that many flu-like symptoms are actually caused by diseases other than influenza and that influenza is usually diagnosed without laboratory tests. In 2001, for example, U.S. death certificates listed (only) 257 deaths as caused by the flu, but only 18 of those were confirmed influenza cases.

Numbers doctored to serve vaccine manufacturers

So why does the CDC claim that 36,000 people per year die from the flu? The major reason is that the CDC counts death from influenza and deaths from pneumonia in a single category.

"But why are flu and pneumonia bundled together?" asks a 2005 article from The BMJ, titled "Are U.S. flu death figures more PR than science?"

"Is the relationship so strong or unique to warrant characterizing them as a single cause of death?"

In fact, the article concludes, most pneumonia deaths have nothing to do with the flu. The CDC admits this fact, saying "only 8.5% of all pneumonia and influenza deaths [are] influenza-related."

According to Dr. Glen Nowak, associate director for communications at CDC's National Immunization Program, the CDC knows full well that influenza is not as lethal as the agency claims. In 2003, however, the CDC decided to inflate the risk of the flu as a service to vaccine manufacturers.

"The manufacturers were telling us that they weren't receiving a lot of orders for vaccine," Dr. Nowak said. "It really did look like we needed to do something to encourage people to get a flu shot."

A 2004 presentation that Dr. Nowak authored reads, "Medical experts and public health authorities [should] publicly (e.g. via media) state concern and alarm (and predict dire outcomes) - and urge influenza vaccination."


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