Flu-Phobic Consider Intentional Infection

By Ambreen Ali,  Newser User
Posted May 7, 2009 9:31 AM CDT
A woman and a child wearing masks as a precaution against swine flu arrive at a arrival hall of Beijing Capital International Airport in Beijing, China, Thursday, May 7, 2009. China's measures have drawn...   (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
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(Newser) – With panic over the H1N1 flu virus on the wane, some Americans are pondering allowing themselves to become infected in hopes of building immunity against potentially more virulent strains, the New York Times reports. Doctors are split on the idea. "I think it's totally nuts," says a flu specialist. "We don't know enough about how this virus could react."

Says another expert: "I think to myself, yeah, I’ll be miserable for a week—but that’ll beat maybe being seriously sick later." Possible vaccine shortages and the potential for a strain to evolve that renders current treatments impotent are motivating some to consider self-infection, but it's not as easy as it sounds—just 642 domestic cases had been confirmed as of yesterday.