Over 57 Million Americans Fell Ill From H1N1 Flu

The Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated Friday that over 57 million Americans fell ill after contracting the H1N1 influenza virus infection, while 11,700 are believed to have died from it.

Though, new figures state the H1N1 pandemic virus is still spreading, a continuous slowdown in the transmission of the illness has been noted since last fall. Last CDC estimates claim 55 million Americans fell ill, 246,000 were hospitalized and 11,100 died through mid-December.

While, no announcement regarding the end of the influenza pandemic has been made by health officials, with a substantial portion of the US population having been vaccinated against the H1N1 pandemic, approximately
70-million, a new round of the illness is increasingly unlikely.

Through mid-January, there were 257,000 hospitalisations due to H1N1 influenza, much higher than the 200,000 normal influenza season hospitalisations, when seasonal flu viruses are in widespread circulation.

Of those hospitalised, 82,000 were under 18-years of age, while 150,000 were aged 18 to 64-years and 25,000 H1N1 hospitalisations among the 65-plus age group, which indicates younger people continue to be affected by the H1N1 virus. As far as seasonal influenza, is concerned, majority of hospitalisations and deaths are amongst the 65 plus age group.

According to CDC 11,690 of the deaths were due to H1N1, 1,230 of them amongst the 17 and younger age group and 8,980 in the 18 to 64-years age group. There were 1,480 deaths amongst the elderly attributed to H1N1. During a normal influenza season, 36,000 deaths are directly attributed to influenza and pneumonia, with 90% of them being amongst the 65 and older age group.

As of 6th February, the CDC in a separate weekly report of H1N1 influenza activity said most influenza strains circulating were the H1N1 strain and not those causing seasonal influenza.