CDC: One in six Americans sickened by swine flu - Hawaii News Now - KGMB and KHNL

CDC: One in six Americans sickened by swine flu

CDC Director Thomas Frieden CDC Director Thomas Frieden

By Erika Edwards

ATLANTA (NBC) - The Centers for Disease Control (CDC) has released new estimates on just how widespread and deadly the H1N1 flu has been for Americans.

Chances are, someone you know has been infected with the swine flu this year.

The CDC now estimates one in six Americans, that's nearly 50 million people have been sickened. And the data continues to show that this is a largely a young person's disease.

"Many times more children and younger adults unfortunately had been hospitalized or killed by H1N1 influenza than occurs in a usual flu season," said CDC Director Thomas Frieden.

According to the new numbers, nearly 200,000 have been hospitalized and nearly 10,000 have died since the outbreak began in April. 1,100 of those deaths have been children.

The good news, cases do seem to be decreasing but flu season typically lasts through May.

"The more people who get vaccinated, the lower the likelihood will be of additional cases or third wave," Frieden said.

Opportunities to get the vaccine are opening up in many parts of the country. The CDC reports it added 12 million more doses in the past week, bringing the total supply to 85 million.

Also Thursday, health officials at Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say the death rate from H1N1 is four times higher for American Indians and Alaska natives than for any other Americans.

According to the CDC, a study of swine flu deaths in 12 states found that 42 American Indians and Alaska natives in those states died of the flu or complications from it.

Health officials say those same groups also have higher rates of diabetes, asthma and other conditions that put them at high risk.

Powered by Frankly