December 1, 2009

Swine Flu Infection Down To 32 States

The government released a report on Monday that indicates a drop in swine flu infections, however the death toll among children rose by about 30.

As of November 21, widespread swine flu infections were reported among 32 states, which is less than the 43 states from the previous week, according to U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officials.

The CDC also said there were 27 new lab-confirmed swine flu deaths in children under the age of 18, bringing the total number of deaths among children to 200. That is the highest number of deaths for children since the pandemic began, reported the associated press.

The swine flu has infected an estimated 22 million Americans since it was first identified in April, and has resulted in the hospitalization of about 98,000 and killed 4,000. It is comparable to the seasonal flu, but poses a much greater threat to children and young adults.

The pandemic has swept across the U.S. in two separate waves. The first was in the spring, followed by a larger one that began in the late summer.

In late October, 48 states reported widespread flu infection, which appears to have been at the highest point of the second wave. After that, fewer states have been reporting widespread cases, and the number of schools closed due to swine flu has dropped to zero at times.

However, it is not over. There are still a number of people still suffering from the sickness, as many as there were during the worst days of many typical flu seasons. Furthermore, CDC officials have warned that just because the number of cases seem to have dropped does not mean we are in the clear.

"Nothing is typical about this year's influenza. We may have weeks and months of a lot of disease ahead of us," said Dr. Anne Schuchat, head of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, at a recent press conference.

Monday's tally of deaths among children represents cases reported in the week ending Nov. 21.

Even though there have been about 200 deaths reported, officials believe there are likely a few hundred more since death statistics often lag behind the spread of an illness.


On the Net: