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Swine Flu Declining in Some Parts of U.S.
Date:11/20/2009

But, flu activity remains high and is expected to continue, CDC says,,

FRIDAY, Nov. 20 (HealthDay News) -- Some areas of the United States are seeing declines in H1N1 swine flu activity, a federal health official said Friday, and while the disease remains widespread in 43 states, that's down from the 46 states reported last week.

"We are beginning to see some declines in influenza activity around the country, but there is still a lot of influenza everywhere," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, said during an afternoon press conference.

Current flu activity is higher than typically seen during the peak of seasonal flu season in mid-winter, Schuchat said, adding that she expects a lot more swine flu infections in the weeks and months to come.

The H1N1 virus continues to hit young adults and children hard. During the past week, 21 more children died from the flu, bringing to 171 the total number of confirmed deaths among children.

But, Schuchat cautioned, "This is just a partial counting. The estimates we provided last week provide a better estimate of the full toll that the virus has taken in the first six months of the pandemic."

Those estimates showed that at least 22 million Americans have come down with the swine flu since the virus first surfaced in April, and approximately 3,900 people have died, including an estimated 540 children.

Of the children who have died from swine flu, two-thirds had chronic health problems, such as asthma, cerebral palsy and muscular dystrophy, Schuchat said. The remaining one-third of the children were healthy and died of complications from bacterial infections, she said.

By way of comparison, seasonal flu -- which poses a greater health threat to older adults -- kills an estimated 36,000 Americans each year.

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