A recent increase in H1N1 flu activity and related hospitalizations in Georgia triggered an update from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention about the disease that has now claimed about 12,000 lives in the U.S.
In a teleconference Monday, U.S. Surgeon General Regina Benjamin said about 60 million people have been infected with the H1N1 virus, which has also caused about 265,000 U.S. hospitalizations. Benjamin also said there is a higher rate of disease among those who have chronic diseases—such as diabetes or cancer—and that it's important to remind minority groups about getting the vaccine, because these groups have higher rates of chronic conditions. Benjamin joined Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases, who said the H1N1 virus continues to circulate, and nearly all of the flu activity this year has been from this particular strain.