More people die while A/H1N1 flu wanes in U.S.

0 CommentsPrint E-mail Xinhua, March 6, 2010
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More people died from the A/H1N1 virus while most key flu indicators remained below the pandemic threshold in the U.S. during the past week.

Three people, including a 21-year-old woman who had given birth 20 hours earlier, have died in San Antonio hospitals from the virus in the past two weeks, local health officials said on Friday.

Overall, the number of A/H1N1 deaths and cases continue to drop in the state of Texas.

"We think that's due to a lot of different reasons, one of them being the natural immunity already developed for people who've already been infected, but also a good part, we think, is also due to the vaccine efforts," explained Dr. Sandra Guerra of Texas Center for Infectious Disease.

Meanwhile, the Minnesota Department of Health released its weekly update of flu statistics, showing the state's death toll from A/H1N1 flu has increased to 58 after officials completed their investigations of three more deaths.

However, the department stressed that there were no outbreaks of new cases in the state's hospitals, and flu infections of all kinds remain only sporadic in the state.

The Arkansas Department of Health also announced that one more person had died of complications from the new virus in the state.

Ed Barham, public information officer for the department, said that there have been 30 deaths since the pandemic started in Arkansas in August and reports of hospitalizations and absenteeism from schools have slowed in recent months.

Nationwide, the A/H1N1 flu activity continued to decrease during the week of February 21-27, 2010, with most key flu indicators remained below the threshold of pandemic or national baselines, the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) said on Friday.

No states has reported widespread influenza activity and most states has been reporting sporadic influenza activity since the beginning of the year, according to the CDC.

"During week 8 (ending Feb. 27) , 7.8 percent of all deaths reported through the 122-Cities Mortality Reporting System were due to P&I," the CDC said on its web site, adding this percentage was below the epidemic threshold of 7.9 percent for week 8."

Only 1.7 percent of patient visits reported through the U.S. Outpatient Influenza-like Illness Surveillance Network (ILINet) were due to influenza-like illness (ILI) during the same week, the CDC said, pointing out this percentage is below the national baseline of 2.3 percent.

Even so, state and local health officials still consider the A/H1N1 flu to be a pandemic.

“People have become complacent,” said Roger Sanchez, senior epidemiologist with the Metropolitan Health District in Texas.

“It (A/H1N1 virus) is still out there, and people need to be aware it's still there. Health providers need to vaccinate those in high-risk categories for sure,” he added.

Nationally, health officials have particularly encouraged pregnant women to get vaccinated. About six percent of A/H1N1 flu deaths have been among pregnant women, who make up roughly one percent of the population, the CDC estimates.

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