CDC Briefing on Public Health Investigation of Human Cases of H1N1 Flu (Swine Flu)

May 3, 2009, 1:00 p.m. EST

Operator: Thank you. 

Glen Nowak: Thank you all for calling in today’s press conference, our media update on the novel H1N1 situation. Today we have Dr. Ann Schuchat, interim deputy director for the science and public health program, available to answer questions and give an update and Dr. Nancy Cox, the head of the CDC influenza division to answer questions as they alive.  I will turn this over to Dr. Ann Schuchat.  Dr. Schuchat. 

Dr. Schuchat: Thanks for joining us this afternoon. I want to give some brief remarks for today’s update and then I’ll answer all of your questions.  Today I think we do see some encouraging signs, but we are remaining cautious.  We have a new infectious disease, a novel H1N1 virus.  It’s too soon for us to know exactly how this will involve or play out.  We need to be ready for the seasonal flu next fall as well as what this new H1N1 virus is going to do in the fall, and we’re really working actively and aggressively to be one step ahead, both currently and then preparing for the fall.  The extent of spread of this virus in the U.S. and around the world is widespread, and it’s possible that the W.H.O., the world health organization, will be continuing to re–evaluate the phasing.  Currently we’re at phase five, but it’s important to know that that issue is still being looked at.  The phases the W.H.O. talks about relates how widespread infection is.  Not how severe it is.  Today’s case count for the United States is 226 confirmed cases, and those cases are occurring in 30 states.  That’s up from 21 states yesterday.  Part of this increase is just catching up on the testing, and part of it is that we do think this virus is fairly widespread.  We know that most of the other states are actively working up cases, and we expect a number of additional states to confirm the virus in the days ahead.  The median age of cases is 17 years.  Still quite young people are primarily affected.  The cases do continue to confirm–– the most recent confirmed case is April 29.  We have one confirmed death here in the U.S., and we have 30 hospitalizations that we know are related to the H1N1 strain of influenza.  I want to put the increasing cases and the increasing states in the subcontext.  We do think this virus is widespread across the United States. 

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