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The CDC releases new estimates of swine flu infections

April 21, 2010 | 12:04 pm

Pig As of the middle of March, at least 60 million Americans had been infected with the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus, about 270,000 had been hospitalized and about 12,270 had died, according to the latest estimates from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released Tuesday. The new estimates represent an increase of about 1 million infections, 5,000 hospitalizations and 270 fatalities since the last estimates a month ago. The small increase reflects the CDC's recent reports indicating that swine flu activity has lessened in most areas of the country.

The virus has struck primarily in younger people. The CDC estimates that 19 million infections occurred in children 17 and younger -- about a quarter of this population. There were 86,000 hospitalizations and 1,270 deaths in this group. Among young adults ages 18 through 64, there were 35 million infections, 158,000 hospitalizations and 9,420 deaths. The infection total amounts to about 18.5% of this age group.

In normal seasonal flu, the elderly are the most seriously affected, but that has not been the case with swine flu. The number of cases among those over 65 was 6 million. That represents 15.8% of the population, up from 13% a month earlier. There were 26,000 hospitalizations and 1,580 deaths.

Overall, swine flu activity in the U.S. remains low. New data from the American College Health Assn. released Wednesday indicates that cases of influenza-like illnesses on college campuses remained very low in the week ending April 16, about 1.1 cases per 10,000 students. The incidence has remained below 5 cases per 10,000 students for more than four months, the organization said, and there is no evidence of a third wave of infection.

-- Thomas H. Maugh II