Last week, CDC officials reported that A/H1N1 flu has sickened nearly 50 million Americans, sent more than 200,000 people to the hospital and killed nearly 10,000 -- more than 8,000 of them children and young adults.
"We estimate there have been nearly 50 million cases, mostly in younger adults and children, and more than 200,000 hospitalizations which is about the same number that there is in a usual flu season for the entire year," Dr. Thomas R. Frieden, the CDC director, said at a press conference, adding that means 15 percent of the entire U.S. population have been infected with A/H1N1 influenza.
“The estimates are actually much more accurate than the confirmed numbers," Dr. Frieden said. "The number of confirmed deaths is really just a small proportion of the number of total deaths."
So far the hardest-hit have been two groups -- children and young adults as well as the Native American and Alaskan Native populations.
Among those who have died since the new virus first surfaced in April, an estimated 1,100 were children and 7,500 were young adults, according to the statistics released by the CDC.
A/H1N1 flu has also been particularly virulent among the Native American and Alaskan Native populations.
“The death rate is about four times higher for this group. This is most likely largely a reflection of environmental factors and underlying conditions -- like diabetes and asthma -- that are more common, and access to health care, rather than a genetic or racial/ethnic difference," said the CDC director.
On the whole, the CDC said on Friday that the A/H1N1 flu infections continue to be on the wane nationally.
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