WebMD reports that Daniel Jernigan, MD, PhD, deputy director of the CDC’s influenza division says that more than 100,000 Americans probably have the flu and of these at least half probably have swine flu. This means there are probably 50,000 or more people with the H1N1 swine flu virus.
Jernigan noted that the 4,700 confirmed or probable cases of swine flu reported to CDC represent a gross underestimate. When asked how many actual cases there were, Jernigan noted that 7% to 10% of the U.S. population — up to 30 million people — get the seasonal flu each year.
“So with the amount of activity we are seeing now, it is a little hard to know what that means in terms of making an estimate now of the total number of people with flu out in the community,” Jernigan said. “But if I had to make an estimate, I would say … probably upwards of maybe 100,000.”
The WebMD article also says that flu cases are going up at a time of year when they generally decrease.
At a time when flu season should be ending or over, the CDC’s flu season indicators are going up instead of down. As of May 9, 22 states had widespread or regional flu.
WebMD says that flu/pneumonia deaths for the week ending May 9th were 7.2% of all deaths. This is just under the “epidemic threshold” of 7.4% of all deaths. WebMD also reports that 173 people been hospitalized with H1N1 so far and most of them have been very young, between 5-24 years old.
You can find links to H1N1 resources on our H1N1 resources page.
Swine flu image via CDC images