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Message Subject Argentina Declares State of Emergency (updated for todays news)
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New York City swine flu case tally could be as high as 500,000, CDC says

BY John Lauinger
Saturday, June 27th 2009, 12:28 PM

[link to www.nydailynews.com]

New research estimates that half a million New Yorkers have been infected by swine flu - casting doubts on the city's claim that transmission of the H1N1 virus has declined.

The alarming data was released Friday by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which estimated there have been 50 times more cases nationwide than have been reported to health authorities.

"We're saying that there have been at least a million cases of the new H1N1 virus so far this year in the United States," said Anne Schuchat, director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

"Reported cases are really just the tip of the iceberg."

"City health officials were not immediately available for comment Saturday. Schuchat added that the number of infected Americans may actually be higher than 1 million.

The CDC study was not based on laboratory evidence.

Instead, researchers relied on mathematical modelling of surveys conducted in areas, like New York City, that have had high levels of H1N1 infections.

There have been about 28,000 confirmed cases of the A(H1N1) strain nationwide. Roughly 3,000 people have been hospitalized due to the strain, with 127 reported deaths.

In New York City, there were 804 recorded hospitalizations and 32 deaths attributed to swine flu as of June 23, the most recent date for which data was available on the city Health Department's Web site.

On June 12, the city Health Department issued a statement that said H1N1 transmission appeared to be on the decline, since lower numbers of people were showing up at hospital emergency rooms with flu-like illness.

The new CDC study suggests that swine flu infections are far higher than reported cases.

The CDC study found that 6.9% of city residents had flu-like illness during a three-week period in May.

Based on virologic testing, the researchers "knew that most of that influenza-like illness was based on this new H1N1 strain," Schuchat said.

"And from that," Schuchat continued, "they estimated that around half a million New York City residents may have been infected with this new virus and had flu-like illness without necessarily seeking care."

Schuchat echoed a previous warning that the new swine flu bug could come back in a more severe form during the fall flu season.
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