CDC: New H1N1 Tracking Method Ups Estimates

Revised estimation method may provide more accurate picture of pandemic
By Cynthia Haines, MD
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Nov. 12 (HealthDay News) -- At least 22 million Americans have been infected with H1N1 since April, and approximately 3,900 people have died, including an estimated 540 children, according to information presented at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Nov. 12 H1N1 press conference.

Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in Atlanta, and colleagues indicated today that, while these numbers represent a significant increase in the numbers of ill, hospitalized and deceased from previous estimates, it is due to a new method of data extrapolation from laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1. The earlier numbers were based on laboratory-confirmed cases, Schuchat said.

Among those infected have included an estimated 8 million children under age 18 years of age. An estimated 98,000 Americans have been hospitalized due to H1N1 infection, including 36,000 children. Per the briefing, there have been 2 million infections, 9,000 hospitalizations, and 440 deaths among those 65 years and older.

"The estimation method we are using now, we believe, gives a bigger picture, a probably more accurate picture of the full scope of the pandemic," Schuchat said. Regarding vaccination, "the immunization efforts for this supply continue to be focused on the target population, priority groups, pregnant women, health care workers, children up to age 24, adults 65 with chronic conditions and parents with small children and children under 6 years of age."

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