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U.S. Swine Flu Cases Chart Sharp Decline
Date:11/30/2009

But as pandemic seems to ebb, CDC notes a rise in child deaths linked to flu,,

MONDAY, Nov. 30 (HealthDay News) -- U.S. health officials said Monday that H1N1 swine flu infections appear to be on the wane nationally, even as the number of American children dying from the illness continues to rise.

The latest report, released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), finds that "visits to doctors for influenza-like illness nationally decreased sharply this week over last week with all regions showing declines."

The ebb in cases means that 32 states are now reporting widespread flu activity, down from 43 states the week before.

The downward trend in H1N1 infections marks the fourth week in a row cases have declined after a month of steady increases in October, the CDC said.

But not all the news was good: 35 flu-related pediatric deaths -- 27 from lab-confirmed H1N1 -- were reported to the CDC this week, bringing to 234 the total number of flu-related child deaths since April. According to the Associated Press, this week's jump in pediatric flu deaths is the largest one-week increase since scientists first spotted the H1N1 virus in April.

Overall, hospitalizations and deaths continue "to be higher than expected for this time of year," the CDC said.

Monday's report follows on news last week that the ongoing pandemic may be driving a recent spike in dangerous pneumonias among younger patients.

"We are seeing an increase in serious pneumococcal infections around the country," Dr. Anne Schuchat, director of the National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during a press conference on Wednesday. "Pandemics put us at risk for not just flu problems, but also bacterial pneumonia problems," she added.

These bacterial infections commonly infect the lungs and sometimes
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