Letter on Vitamin D3 and H1N1
September 17, 2009
Dear Dr. Cannell:
Your recent newsletters and video about Swine flu (H1N1) prompted me to convey our recent experience with an H1N1 outbreak at Central Wisconsin Center (CWC). CWC is a long-term care facility for people with developmental disabilities, home for approx. 275 people with approx. 800 staff. Vitamin D3 (Serum 25-OHD) has been monitored in virtually all residents for several years and patients supplemented with vitamin D.
In June 2009, at the time of the well-publicized Wisconsin spike in H1N1 cases, two residents developed influenza-like illness (ILI) and had positive tests for H1N1: one was a long-term resident; the other, a child, was transferred to us with what was later proven to be H1N1.
On the other hand, 60 staff members developed ILI or were documented to have H1N1: of 17 tested for ILI, eight were positive. An additional 43 staff members called in sick with ILI. (Approx. 11-12 staff developed ILI after working on the unit where the child was given care, several of whom had positive H1N1 tests.)
So, it is rather remarkable that only two residents of 275 developed ILI, one of which did not develop it here, while 103 of 800 staff members had ILI. It appears that the spread of H1N1 was not from staff-to-resident but from resident-to-staff (most obvious in the imported case) and between staff, implying that staff were susceptible and our residents protected.
Norris Glick, MD
Central Wisconsin Center
Dear Dr. Glick:
This is the first hard data that I am aware of concerning H1N1 and vitamin D. It appears vitamin D is incredibly protective against H1N1. Dr. Carlos Carmago at Mass General ran the numbers in an email to me. Even if one excludes 43 staff members who called in sick with influenza, 0.73% of residents were affected, as compared to 7.5% of staff. This 10-fold difference was statistically significant (P less than 0.001). That is, the chance that this was a chance occurrence is one less than one in a thousand. Second, if you read my last newsletter, you will see that children with neurological impairments, like the patients at your hospital, have accounted for 2/3 of the childhood deaths for H1N1 so far in the USA. That is, the CDC knows, because they reported it, that patients with neurological impairments are more likely to die from H1N1.
The Vitamin D Newsletter
H1N1, another letter from a physican
1:30 PM PST, Wednesday, September 16, 2009
John Cannell, M.D. email@example.com
Dear Dr. Cannell:
Thanks for your update about the hospital in Wisconsin. I have had similar anecdotal evidence from my medical practice here in Georgia. We are one of the 5 states with widespread H1N1 outbreaks.
I share an office with another family physician. I aggressively measure and replete vitamin D. He does not.
He is seeing one to 10 cases per week of influenza-like illness. In my practice, I have had zero cases. My patients are universally on 2000-5000 IU to maintain serum levels 50-80 ng/ml.
Ellie Campbell, DO
Campbell Family Medicine
3925 Johns Creek Court Ste A
Suwannee GA 30024
Dear Dr. Campbell:
That’s good news. Now, if we just had a way for the CDC and the NIH to pay attention.
Critics say we should not recommend vitamin D to prevent influenza until it is proven to do so. The critics are thus saying, although they seem not to know it, you should be vitamin D deficient this winter until science proves being vitamin D sufficient is better than being Vitamin D deficient.
This is not rocket science. If I am wrong, and Vitamin D does not prevent influenza, what is lost? A few dollars. If they are wrong, and it does prevent influenza, what is lost?
Please contact your senators and congresspersons. Ask them to have hearings on vitamin D and H1N1:
John Cannell, MD
Vitamin D Council
585 Leff Street
San Luis Obispo, CA 93422