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One in five kids had swine flu? No, not really, CDC now says

October 23, 2009 | 12:33 pm

Pig Media reports Thursday that one in five kids had the pandemic H1N1 influenza virus during the first 11 days of October were a misinterpretation, Dr. Thomas Frieden, director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said at a news conference this morning. What researchers actually found was that one in five kids had an influenza-like illness during that period, but only a minority of those cases were likely to be swine flu.

The results came from a telephone survey of 14,000 randomly selected households, who were asked if they had suffered influenza-like symptoms from Oct. 1 to Oct. 11. The responses indicated that one in five kids had suffered such symptoms and about 7% of adults. No effort was made to confirm that the illnesses were, in fact, swine flu.

Frieden said that at the peak of the epidemic, in some localities, as many as one in five kids were indeed infected by the virus.  In this survey, however, it is more likely that most of the the children simply had colds or sniffles. "The data simply show that kids get a lot of infections," he said.

-- Thomas H. Maugh II