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U.S. Swine Flu Count Nears 1,900; Person-to-Person Transmission Now Common
Date:5/7/2009

Officials dismiss 'swine flu parties' as dangerous way to seek immunity

THURSDAY, May 7 (HealthDay News) -- The number of confirmed or suspected cases of swine flu in the United States was approaching 1,900, federal health officials said Thursday, with most new cases now caused by person-to-person transmission and not some link to Mexico, as was the case when the outbreak began nearly two weeks ago.

"Only about 10 percent of confirmed cases have a travel history for Mexico," which is believed to be the source of the outbreak, Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said during an afternoon teleconference. "This indicates ongoing transmission in communities. We would expect that as this [virus] travels more around the country that we are going to see that number go down. While there may have been introduction from travel to Mexico, the spread that's ongoing does not require travel to Mexico," he added.

Besser said there are now 1,823 probable and confirmed cases in 44 states, with most of the infections mild and leading to a quick recovery. The median age of hospitalized individuals with swine flu is 15.

He also said the CDC plans to stop concentrating on reporting numbers of cases and start concentrating on where flu activity is most pronounced in the country. "At some point reporting on individual cases no longer has value from a public health perspective, but knowing where in the country we are seeing large amounts of flu activity does remain important," he added.

Besser also addressed two other significant topics at the teleconference:

  • The H1N1 swine flu, thought to be a new virus, may have first infected people in the United States back in 2005.
  • People may be holding "swine flu parties," where individuals knowingly expose themselves to someone with the flu, in the belief that gaining some immunity now may offer greater pro
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U.S. Swine Flu Count Nears 1,900; Person-to-Person Transmission Now Common
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