Drop seen in doctor, hospital visits for possible infection
FRIDAY, May 22 (HealthDay News) -- While many states are still reporting new cases of infection with the H1N1 swine flu virus, there seems to be an overall decline in visits to doctors and hospitals by people with the disease, indicating that the outbreak might be subsiding, a U.S. health official said Thursday.
"At the national level, we're seeing that the percent of visits [to doctors and hospitals] for influenza-like illness is starting to turn down," Dr. Anne Schuchat, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's interim deputy director for science and public health program, said during an afternoon teleconference. "That's a good sign. It's consistent with the idea that the worst may be over."
"We are seeing activity decline in some areas, but we are seeing increased or localized outbreaks in other areas," she added.
Schuchat also discussed the finding, first reported Wednesday, that some older people may have partial immunity to the new H1N1 swine flu virus because of possible exposure to another H1N1 flu strain circulating prior to 1957.
The finding "suggests that older adults might have some preexisting antibody against this new H1N1 strain," Schuchat said. "But we don't know yet what that will mean in terms of actual immunity or clinical protection."
So far, 64 percent of cases of swine flu infection are among people aged 5 to 24, while only 1 percent involves people over 65, she said.
On Wednesday, Dr. Daniel Jernigan, deputy director of the CDC's Influenza Division, said that some older people may have partial immunity to the new H1N1 swine flu virus because of possible exposure to another H1N1 flu strain circulating prior to 1957.
"The further back you go in time, the more likely you are to have been exposed to H1N1 virus back before 1957, and there is a possibility that having exposure to that virus
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