Hospitalizations and deaths from the 2009 H1N1 influenza virus continue to disproportionately affect the younger population, according to a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention official who also emphasized the importance of early treatment with antiviral medications.
Hospitalization reports from 27 states show there had been 4,958 hospitalizations from the deadly H1N1 strain between Sept. 1 and Oct. 10, while 28 states reported 292 deaths, said Rear Adm. Anne Schuchat, director of the national center for immunization and respiratory diseases, in a news conference that the CDC is now holding twice each week. Of the hospitalizations, 53% occurred in people under the age of 25, while 23.6% of the H1N1-related deaths occurred in that same age group. That is a stark difference when compared with death rates for the seasonal flu, as about 90% of those deaths happen in people over the age of 65, Schuchat said.
Also, the figures for hospitalizations and deaths from the H1N1 virus—referred to commonly as swine flu—are underestimates, Schuchat added. Meanwhile, the CDC reports there are now 12.8 million doses of the H1N1 vaccine available, and states had ordered 10.8 million of those doses as of Monday.