Swine flu may have fallen off the front pages in recent days, but federal and state health officials say that the illness is spreading so quickly that it’s hard to keep count of the victims.
In the past week alone, they say, the swine flu has accounted for about 40 percent of the flu viruses diagnosed in the United States. Dr. Anne Schuchat, a deputy director with the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “I think the cases we’re confirming are the tip of the iceberg here.”
Among the more than 2,000 cases of swine flu confirmed in 43 states and the District of Columbia, there have been 94 hospitalizations and three deaths, MSNBC reports. In addition, there are 700 suspected cases. The good news, however, is that despite the few exceptions, the cases in the United States have been relatively mild, heal officials say.
“They tell us for sure this virus is circulating throughout the United States, and it’s likely to be in every state,” Schuchat said. “It’s a time when we really need to guard against complacency as we move to a new normal.”
On Saturday, America got a stark warning about the detriments of complacency. That’s when a man in his 30s died from complications from swine flu, according to officials in Washington state. In other instances, a toddler and a pregnant woman both suffered from several other illnesses at the time they were infected with the virus, according to a study released Thursday.
“We’re working with local and federal partners to track this outbreak,” said Washington State Secretary of Health Mary Selecky.