January 15, 2010 | | Comments 0
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CDC statistics: H1N1 has killed at least 20,000 less than typical seasonal flu

Crunching some numbers will help compare the number of people infected by seasonal flu versus those infected by the H1N1 swine flu virus.

How many people become infected?

  • Seasonal: Typically from 5% to 20% of the U.S. population annually (which would be from 15 million to 62 million this season)
  • H1N1: From 39 million to 80 million between April and December 12, 2009

How many people die?

  • Seasonal: Typically about 36,000 annually
  • H1N1: From 7,880 to 16,460 deaths between April and December 12, 2009

How many people are hospitalized?

  • Seasonal: Typically more than 200,000 annually
  • H1N1: From 173,000 to 362,000 between April and December 12, 2009

The lower death rate for H1N1 would support the notion that the strain is milder than seasonal flu. However, if mid- to high-end estimates ring true, H1N1 by far has infected far more people and also hospitalized more Americans.

Sources: H1N1 figures come from a CDC report on January 15, 2009, and season flu numbers come from the CDC’s Web site.

7,880 and 16,460 2009 H1N1-related deaths occurred between April and December 12, 2009

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Scott Wallask About the Author: Scott Wallask is senior managing editor for HCPro's Hospital Safety Center (www.hospitalsafetycenter.com) and the award-winning newsletters, Briefings on Hospital Safety and Healthcare Life Safety Compliance. He has written about healthcare for HCPro since 1998, with a focus on occupational and building safety, emergency management, fire protection, and infection control. Prior to joining HCPro, he worked as a reporter for several newspapers in eastern Massachusetts. He holds a BA in print journalism, magna cum laude, from Northeastern University in Boston. Contact Scott at swallask@hcpro.com.

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