Swine flu cases are down, but health officials say the disease's cumulative impact has grown to 57 million U.S. illnesses, 257,000 hospitalizations and 11,690 deaths, including 1,180 children, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Friday.
The swine flu pandemic put as many people into the hospital as during the normal influenza season — but most were younger adults and children instead of the elderly, and it was during the months when usually very little or no flu is circulating, the CDC said. In a normal flu season, the CDC estimates that 36,000 Americans die of flu but 90 percent are over the age of 65. CDC estimates that 200,000 go into the hospital, again mostly the elderly.
The CDC estimates represent cases from the time swine flu was first identified in April through mid-January — the first nine months of the pandemic.
The numbers reflect increases of about 4 percent from the CDC's last estimates, which covered the first eight months. New swine flu cases peaked in October but declined since, and have not been widespread in any state for more than a month.
The U.S. has more than 300 million people.