CDC Study Finds Swine Flu May Have Infected As Many As 5.7 Million Americans
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has released new swine flue estimates that suggest the number of people affected by the disease is much greater than the 43,677 cases confirmed earlier. USA Today/Associated Press reports: "As many as 5.7 million Americans were infected with swine flu during the first few months of the pandemic, according to estimates from federal health officials. Scientists at the [CDC] estimate that between 1.8 million and 5.7 million Americans were infected from mid-April through July 23. The figures are the CDC's most specific calculation to date. ... They also estimated that between 9,000 and 21,000 hospitalizations occurred during that time. The estimates are in a CDC publication, Emerging Infectious Diseases, and were posted on the journal's website this week" (10/29).
The Wall Street Journal reports that swine flu, also known as H1N1, cases are vastly underreported, too: "The number of confirmed cases of H1N1 flu from April to July represents just 2% of the actual people who were infected with the virus, according to a report by the [CDC]. ... The CDC and World Health Organization in July stopped tracking individual cases because they acknowledged doing so was difficult. In recent weeks, government health officials have instead been describing the scope of the virus by saying it is widespread in 46 states. The authors of the study say the report may help health officials plan for a subsequent wave of the epidemic in the fall and winter months. ... The report says underreporting may occur for a handful of reasons, including because not everyone gets tested and the quality of tests varies" (Favole, 10/29).
The Los Angeles Times reports that perhaps 800 have died from H1N1 in the U.S., according to the report (Maugh, 10/30).