CDC: Some 10,000 U.S. deaths from H1N1 flu

Dec. 10, 2009 at 6:11 PM
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ATLANTA, Dec. 10 (UPI) -- In the United States, H1N1 flu has killed an estimated 10,000 -- including 1,100 children and 7,500 younger adults -- federal health officials said Thursday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates about 15 percent of the country has been infected with H1N1 influenza -- about 1 in 6 people -- with nearly 50 million cases of H1N1 and nearly 200,000 hospitalizations -- much higher than in a usual flu season.

"It's not quite that you can take the current estimate of 10,000 deaths and subtract the previous estimate of 3,900 to see what happened in the past month -- there is some correction for late reporting," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters in a briefing.

"But there has been a lot more disease in the month that's reported than in the months before."

It is likely H1N1 flu will continue to decline, but flu season generally lasts until May, and it is impossible to predict what H1N1 will do next, Frieden said.

"Until recently we have seen very little seasonal flu. We're beginning to see influenza B as have mentioned in the past," Frieden said. "We did have a death in a child from influenza B. That is covered by the seasonal flu vaccine."

Now is a good time to get the seasonal flu vaccine and H1N1 vaccine -- some areas are loosening the restrictions on the H1N1 vaccine, Frieden said.

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