Number of People Infected by H1N1 Reaches 55 Million

About 20 percent of people have been vaccinated; health officials urge others to do so
By Andrea Mongler
HealthDay Reporter

MONDAY, Jan. 18 (HealthDay News) -- On Jan. 15, federal officials reported that, from mid-April through mid-December, an estimated 55 million people in the United States were infected with H1N1 influenza, including approximately 11,200 who died.

According to statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the disease has also led to an estimated 246,000 hospitalizations. Although H1N1 infections peaked in November in 48 states and are now declining, health officials are urging people who have not received a vaccination to do so, particularly because vaccine is now plentiful.

In its Jan. 15 early-release issue of Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report, the CDC provided interim results of the 2009 H1N1 vaccination program. The agency found that, as of Jan. 2, 2010, an estimated 20.3 percent of the U.S. population (61 million people) had been vaccinated. This included 27.9 percent of people in the initial target groups (pregnant women, health care workers, those ages 6 months to 24 years and other groups) and 37.5 percent of people in the limited vaccine subset of the initial target groups. In addition, an estimated 29.4 percent of children ages 6 months to 18 years had been vaccinated.

"Flu is unpredictable, and this flu season is far from over," Kathleen Sebelius, secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, said in a statement. "Flu season typically lasts until May, and we don't know whether there will be additional waves of flu illness. H1N1 is still circulating, it's still dangerous, and there are still lives to be saved. That's why it's so critical for everyone to get vaccinated."

H1N1 Estimates

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