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57 Million Americans Sickened by H1N1 Flu: CDC
Date:2/12/2010

Deaths totaled over 17,000, still fewer than 'typical' flu season

FRIDAY, Feb. 12 (HealthDay News) -- With the H1N1 swine flu pandemic apparently winding down, federal health officials said Friday that about 57 million Americans have suffered through the illness since last April, and the total could range as high as 84 million.

In addition, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that as many as 378,000 people were hospitalized due to H1N1 flu and up to 17,160 Americans may have died from the virus.

The death toll so far remains less than half that seen in flu seasons before the advent of the new H1N1 strain. According to the CDC, in prior years some 36,000 Americans died from influenza during a typical season. Hospitalizations were much higher with H1N1, however; in prior seasons, a little more than 200,000 people are typically hospitalized, the agency said.

The data "provide the first assessment of the number of cases, hospitalizations and deaths from H1N1 for the period of April 2009 through Jan. 16, 2010," noted Dr. Pascal James Imperato, dean and distinguished service professor at the School of Public Health at State University of New York Downstate Medical Center in New York City.

"An extremely important finding is that, using mid-level range data, the majority of hospitalizations (150,000) and deaths (8,980) occurred among those 18 to 64 years of age and not among those younger than 18 years of age. In the latter group there were 82,000 hospitalizations and 1,230 deaths," he said.

Again, those statistics vary from prior years. According to the CDC, the highest rates of hospitalizations for seasons prior to the advent of H1N1 occurred among those aged 85 and older. In addition, most of the deaths associated with the more typical seasonal flu were among those 65 and older.

The most probable explanation for most H1N1-linked hospitalizations and death
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