CDC report said Monday that H1N1 swine flu infections appear to be on the wane nationally, even as the number of American children dying from the illness continues to rise.
The latest report, released Monday by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), finds that "visits to doctors for influenza-like illness nationally decreased sharply this week over last week with all regions showing declines."
Despite the decrease, the outbreak is continuing to take a heavy toll of hospitalizations and deaths, especially among children.
Widespread activity of H1N1, also called swine flu, was reported in 32 states in the week ending Nov. 21, down from 43 states the week before and 48 a month ago. Influenza-like illnesses accounted for 4.3% of all visits to doctors' offices during the week, down from nearly double that proportion in October. That is still well above the normal level, 2.3%, for this time of year, however.
From Aug. 30 to Nov. 21, there were 29,348 laboratory-confirmed swine flu hospitalizations and 1,224 deaths in the United States, although those numbers are generally assumed to be very low. Two weeks ago the CDC estimated that at least 4,000 people have died from swine flu, 98,000 have been hospitalized and 22 million have contracted the virus. New figures are expected in a couple of weeks.