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U.S. Now Leads World in Swine Flu Cases
Date:5/11/2009

Tally exceeds 2,500, officials say, but most cases remain mild

MONDAY, May 11 (HealthDay News) -- Confirmed cases of H1N1 swine flu in the United States rose to more than 2,500 by Monday, and the U.S. now surpasses Mexico as the country most affected by the outbreak, according to World Health Organization figures.

The number of U.S. deaths linked to the illness rose to three over the weekend, with health officials in Washington state reporting late Saturday that an unidentified man in his 30s had succumbed to the infection.

In a state department of health news release, officials said the man, who had an underlying heart condition, died last week with what appeared to be complications from the swine flu, the Associated Press reported.

The man's death comes after two prior fatal U.S. cases of swine flu: a 33-year-old woman in Texas, and a Mexican toddler who had been treated at a Texas hospital. Both of those individuals also had chronic underlying medical conditions.

The swine flu count in the United States now stands at 2,532 confirmed cases in 44 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said on Sunday. On Saturday CDC officials said those numbers include 104 hospitalizations. The vast majority of cases are mild, however.

"We had expected more cases and we are continuing to find them," Dr. Anne Schuchat, interim deputy director for science and public health program at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a morning teleconference.

The jump in confirmed cases is partly due to the reduction in the backlog of testing for infections. But the number of confirmed cases is probably an underestimation of the total number of actual cases as the virus continues to spread, Schuchat said.

"Transmission here in the U.S. is ongoing. This is a very easily transmittable virus," she said. "Fortunately, the severity of illness that we're seei
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