22 MILLION SICK FROM FLU FIRST 6 MONTHS
CDC has now estimated that approximately 22 million people in the United States became ill from novel H1N1 during the first six months of the pandemic. With several more months of influenza season to go, vaccination of patients with chronic conditions is key, according to the CDC’s director of immunization and respiratory diseases Anne Schuchat, MD. CDC based the estimates on information from the Emerging Infections Program Network, which bases its data on surveillance systems of hospitalized patients.
Until now, the CDC had conservatively put the U.S. mortality associated with this strain of influenza at “more than 1,000,” and had reported on 129 laboratory-confirmed deaths in children. The surveillance data is helping CDC officials paint a more accurate picture of total morbidity and mortality associated with this illness. The figures track from April to Oct. 17, and suggest the number of hospitalizations range from 63,000 to 153,000 and deaths range from 2,500 to as high as 6,100. Schuchat said the illness has affected all age groups, with adults ages 18 to 64 making up about 12 million cases and seniors about 2 million cases.
The new figures reemphasize the importance of getting the vaccinations to high-risk groups, such as children and adults with chronic conditions like asthma, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. She noted that November is American Diabetes Month and she said that it is important for patients with diabetes and other chronic conditions to get vaccinated to protect themselves, even as efforts to obtain the vaccine have been difficult.
So far, about 41.6 million doses of the vaccine are available, Schuchat said, which is far less than manufacturers had projected by this time.
PEOPLE AT RISK
The CDC just issued a very helpful tool for people with illnesses and disabilities that are most affected by H1N1. Having one of these alone may not place someone at higher risk for complications from the H1N1 virus, but other factors may put a person at higher risk. Click on the links below for the complete information by category.
- Young child
- Pregnant woman
- Person with arthritis
- Person with asthma
- Person with cancer
- Person with diabetes
- Person with heart disease
- Person with HIV/AIDS