Swine flu has killed 10,000 Americans since April

CHICAGO Thu Dec 10, 2009 4:02pm EST

1 of 2. A boy looks at a woman holding out a box of Tamiflu as she talks with journalists outside a school in Lisbon July 7, 2009.

Credit: Reuters/Nacho Doce

Related Topics

CHICAGO (Reuters) - Swine flu has killed nearly 10,000 Americans, including 1,100 children and 7,500 younger adults, and infected one in six people in the United States since arriving last April, health officials said on Thursday.

"What we've seen for months is this is a flu that is much harder on younger people," Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told a media briefing.

He estimated that between April and November 14 there had been nearly 50 million cases of H1N1 influenza in the United States, mostly in younger adults and children. That was more than double the CDC's estimate in November of 22 million Americans.

Frieden said more than 200,000 Americans had been hospitalized -- about the same number who are affected by seasonal flu in an entire year.

"About 15 percent of the entire country has been infected with H1N1 influenza, or about one in six people," Frieden told a media briefing.

"That still leaves most people not having been infected and still remaining susceptible to H1N1 influenza," he said.

He said supplies of H1N1 vaccine had continued to improve, and some 85 million doses of the vaccine had been made available for distribution so far, with 12 million more doses added this week.

That is up from 73 million doses a week ago -- but still far fewer than had been hoped for by this week.

Even so, Frieden said vaccine supplies had opened up enough that states were beginning to distribute the vaccine to the general population.

He urged people not to be complacent about getting the vaccine because of reports the current wave of H1N1 influenza is waning.

"This is still a good window of opportunity to be vaccinated," he said. "Vaccination remains the most important thing you can do to protect yourself and your family from H1N1 influenza."

He said the seasonal flu season was beginning and it was not clear what would happen with H1N1 or whether there would be a third wave of the virus in the spring.

"We know that the more people who get vaccinated, the lower the likelihood will be of additional cases or a third wave," Frieden said.

In a typical year, seasonal influenza kills 36,000 Americans and puts 200,000 into the hospital.

(Editing by Peter Cooney)

We welcome comments that advance the story through relevant opinion, anecdotes, links and data. If you see a comment that you believe is irrelevant or inappropriate, you can flag it to our editors by using the report abuse links. Views expressed in the comments do not represent those of Reuters. For more information on our comment policy, see http://blogs.reuters.com/fulldisclosure/2010/09/27/toward-a-more-thoughtful-conversation-on-stories/
Comments (16)
beebo wrote:
I’m in a high risk category, but will not be getting the vaccine for swine flu and have not had a seasonal flu shot since 1988 after getting sick for 2 weeks after one. Too many risks, not enough info on long-term effects. No thanks! I’ll keep eating healthy and stay away from crowds. Seems to me it is only being made a big deal because younger people are being affected.

Dec 10, 2009 4:31pm EST  --  Report as abuse
sarah130 wrote:
Is this a sick joke? Two weeks ago, they estimated 3500 had been killed. the deaths have gone nowhere but down and this caused them to triple their estimates?

Looks like ‘officials’ are getting a little freaked out about the 7.5 billion in taxpayer money that has already been spent on vaccines for all. there are only 85 million available and already they can’t give them away. and Tamiflu doesn’t work. latest peer review concludes it does absolutely nothing against the flu.

there is something absolutely sinister and disgusting about this ‘advertised’ pandemic and its treatment. the thing is – judging from vaccine uptake, I think the general public has caught on – the officials just haven’t noticed and continue to spew ever greater nonsense via ‘press releases’.

Dec 10, 2009 4:56pm EST  --  Report as abuse
Know2Much wrote:
Dr. Frieden only mentioned 10,000 deaths. He did not say 10,000 American deaths.
The headline is incorrect and dangerously mis-leading. It really caught my attention however, as I worry that many Americans will take it as fact and the fear surrounding H1N1 will grow.
The ECDC H1N1 stats from Dec 4th cite 10,402 confirmed H1N1 deaths worldwide so far in 2009 and 3,005 confirmed deaths in North America (that’s Canada, Mexico and the US).
The WHO, however, does state that the total mortality (including deaths unconfirmed or unreported) from the new H1N1 strain is “unquestionably higher” than 10,402.
I don’t believe that Dr. Frieden would have been so bold as to interpret the WHO’s “unquestionably higher” statement as meaning “10,000 American deaths” and he certainly would not have said it without evidence to support it. There is no evidence to support that number cited in the article or in Dr Friedman’s media briefing. He has therefore been mis-quoted.
Shame on Reuters for posting an incorrect, misleading and inflamatory headline!

Dec 10, 2009 5:06pm EST  --  Report as abuse
This discussion is now closed. We welcome comments on our articles for a limited period after their publication.