May 3, 2009 / 5:52 PM / 10 years ago

U.S. CDC says new flu hitting mostly younger people

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. health officials said on Sunday the new flu virus appears to be fairly widespread in the United States and seems to be hitting mostly younger people, with very few cases reported in people over 50.

“We think very few of the cases we have confirmed are in people over 50,” the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Dr. Anne Schuchat told reporters in a telephone briefing. “Whether this will pan out over the weeks ahead we don’t know.”

The CDC has reported 226 cases of the new H1N1 swine flu virus and one death in 30 states. Mexican officials say they believe the outbreak there is starting to ease, although they are still trying to get a full picture of how widespread it is.

Schuchat said U.S. health officials were encouraged there were few deaths from this strain of virus, only one reported so far. Thirty people, mostly older children and young adults, have been hospitalized with the disease in the United States, she said.

But Schuchat added that it was too soon for health authorities to determine the full extent of the disease.

“I don’t think we are out of the woods yet,” Schuchat said. “From what I know of influenza, I do know there will be more cases, more severe cases and more death.”

Editing by Mohammad Zargham

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