CDC Confirms Over 400 H1N1 Flu Cases

Public urged to continue to focus on hand hygiene, stay home if they have flu symptoms
By Jane Parry
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, May 6 (HealthDay News) -- As of May 5, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has confirmed 403 cases of H1N1 flu nationally in 38 states, with over 700 additional probable cases which, if confirmed, will mean the disease has spread across 44 states. The CDC continues to urge the public to rigorously observe preventive measures.

As of May 5, there were 35 known hospitalizations due to H1N1 flu with one death, and the median age of cases was 16 years, explained Richard Besser, M.D., the acting director of the CDC in Atlanta. The numbers are expected to rise sharply as the backlog of testing is cleared, he said.

In all, 62 percent of the confirmed cases in the United States are under 18 years of age, and the young age of patients is driving some of the studies into the virus to ascertain whether this may be attributable simply to travel to Mexico over spring break, to factors particular to that population, or to the possibility that older adults already have some immunity due to exposure to annual flu viruses, Besser explained.

In the meantime, it is important for the public to play its part in preventing the spread of the virus, he said. "I know people are concerned and some people are afraid. I really want to see if we can try and channel that into planning and into action," he said. "And so I say it again and again, hand washing is critical."

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