Director of the Centers for Disease Control National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases Anne Schuchat (L) in Washington, July 23, 2009. (UPI Photo/Kevin Dietsch) | License Photo
ATLANTA, Nov. 12 (UPI) -- An estimated 22 million people in the United States have become ill from H1N1 influenza and some 3,900 people have died, health officials said Thursday.
Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the CDC has been providing H1N1 fatality rates from laboratory confirmed cases until now but the new estimates cover April, when the virus emerged, through Oct. 17 -- the first six months of the pandemic.
"Our estimates, we believe, give us a better estimate of how much disease, hospitalization and death there is than we would get by just counting individual laboratory confirmed cases," Schuchat said at a media briefing in Atlanta. "Our estimates derive from our emerging infections probing network -- a collaboration with 10 states, 62 counties in those 10 states that collect extensive information on hospitalizations from influenza including details about laboratory testing and age and so forth."
The CDC are using data from aggregate state reporting of laboratory hospitalizations and death. Schuchat emphasized the increase in numbers was not from any jump in H1N1 in the last week, but estimates for the first six months of H1N1.
"With those two surveillance symptoms, we are then extrapolating to the whole United States and the entire period of this first six months," Schuchat said.
The CDC estimates 63,000-153,000 people were hospitalized up until Oct. 17. Schuchat said the CDC estimates there were 3,900 fatalities in the first six months of the pandemic but the number could range from 2,500-6,100.
As of Nov. 6, national pediatric death notification system data indicated 129 children had died but Schuchat said the CDC now estimates 540 children died from the pandemic in the first six months.
"We know that a number of the deaths that we're seeing are occurring outside the hospital where testing is not possible," Schuchat said. "We know that not every patient with influenza gets a diagnosis of flu. We think our 540 number is a better estimate."