Swine Flu spikes again in U.S.
ATLANTA – There has been an upsurge in visits to doctors for Swine Flu and deaths associated with flu and pneumonia are again higher than the national epidemic threshold, the CDC said in a report released on Saturday.
“Visits to doctors for influenza-like illness (ILI) nationally increased slightly this week over last week. This is the first increase in this indicator after eight consecutive weeks of national decreases,” said the CDC.
“The proportion of deaths attributed to pneumonia and influenza (P&I) based on the 122 Cities Report increased over the previous week and is now back above the epidemic threshold after dipping below it last week for the first time in 11 weeks,” it said.
But there is no indication that the expected third wave of Swine Flu has struck. One explanation for the increase in visits to doctors is that people sometimes put off visits until after Christmas as is often seen in other flu seasons.
But the CDC did not offer an explanation about why the number of deaths from flu and pneumonia moved higher again after dipping the previous week for the first time. Other experts had suggested Christmas gatherings may cause the virus to spread more.
Swine Flu continued to kill more children. The CDC has said the pandemic virus killed five times more kids than a regular flu season.
“In addition, four flu-related pediatric deaths were reported this week compared to 9 reported last week: two of these deaths reported this week were associated with laboratory confirmed 2009 H1N1, and two were associated with influenza A viruses that were not subtyped (suspected to be Swine Flu.)
“Since April 2009, CDC has received reports of 289 laboratory-confirmed pediatric deaths: 243 due to 2009 H1N1, 44 pediatric deaths that were laboratory confirmed as influenza, but the flu virus subtype was not determined, and two pediatric deaths that were associated with seasonal influenza viruses.”
“Since August 30, 2009, CDC has received 225 reports of influenza-associated pediatric deaths that occurred during the current influenza season (42 deaths in children less than 2 years old, 25 deaths in children 2-4 years old, 83 deaths in children 5-11 years old, and 75 deaths in children 12-17 years old),” said the agency.
“One hundred eighty-three (81%) of the 225 deaths were due to 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infections, 41 were associated with influenza A virus for which the subtype is undetermined, and one was associated with an influenza B virus infection. A total of 243 deaths in children associated with 2009 influenza A (H1N1) virus infection have been reported to CDC.”
Between August 30 and December 26, there had been 37,090 hospitalizations and 1,697 deaths caused by influenza and pneumonia. The CDC says while there are lab confirmed cases, the actual figures are far higher.
Delaware, Maine, New Jersey and Virginia are the only states reporting widespread Swine Flu activity.
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