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Over a million Americans affected by swine flu

Washington, June 26
US health officials estimate that as many as one million Americans may now have the new H1N1 (swine) flu. Lyn Finelli, a flu surveillance official with the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), voiced the estimate at a vaccine advisory meeting on Thursday in Atlanta.

The estimate is based on mathematical modelling. Nearly 28,000 US cases have been reported to the CDC, accounting for roughly half the world's cases. The US count includes 3,065 hospitalisations and 127 deaths.

An estimated 15-60 million Americans catch seasonal flu each year, CBS News reports.

The percentage of cases hospitalised has been growing, but that may be due to closer scrutiny of very sick patients. It takes about three days from the onset of symptoms to hospitalisation, Finelli said, and the average hospital stay has been three days.

Other health problems have been a factor in most cases: About one in three of the hospitalised cases had asthma, 16 per cent diabetes, 12 per cent have immune system problems and 11 per cent chronic heart disease. ANI

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