June 11, 2009
Swine flu in NYC earlier than thought
Some people in New York may have contracted swine flu, or the H1N1 influenza, before the outbreak in mid-May outbreak, health officials said.
Almost 7 percent of New Yorkers said they had experienced flu-like illness between May 1-May 20, a city-wide survey, conducted by telephone from May 21 through May 27, indicated.
Because the outbreak of H1N1 in New York did not begin to spread widely until mid-May, some people who reported flu-like illness in the survey may have had seasonal flu, strep throat or other illnesses that resembled flu. It is not yet clear what proportion of those with flu-like illness had the H1N1 virus, but all evidence suggests it has spread widely within New York, health officials say in a statement.
Illness and emergency room visits for flu-like illness have recently declined citywide. Other indicators suggest the peak period of H1N1 activity in the outbreak may have occurred after the survey was completed, health officials say.