There are now 64 laboratory confirmed diagnoses of the H1N1 virus in the United States. The first US death, a Texas infant, has been reported. But among the cases identified to date most have had mild symptoms similar to seasonal flu. The CDC updates the number of cases and provides additional background at: http://www.cdc.gov/swineflu/index.htm
Spread of the virus has now been confirmed in Canada, New Zealand, United Kingdom, Spain, Israel, and Germany. Suspected cases have been identified in Australia, South Korea, three Latin American nations, and seven member-states of the European Union.
Until today Mexico was the only nation to have seen fatalities related to the virus. While there are seven confirmed deaths, 159 are suspected to have died from the disease in Mexico. There are some reports that the rate of death has slowed in Mexico.
On Tuesday, Dr Richard Besser, Acting Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said, “As we continue to investigate cases here, I expect that we will see deaths in this country.” At 8:10 am this morning, the President confirmed the first US death related to H1N1. The President also encouraged US school officials and other local leaders to begin making plans if it becomes prudent to close schools and other transmission nodes.
Each year approximately 13,000 residents of the United States die from complications related to seasonal flu. The worldwide estimate is between 250,000 – 500,000. Most of these fatalities are among the elderly.
In Mexico, “the majority of the… people believed to have died from the virus here were between 20 and 40 years old, according to Mexican Health Secretary Jose Cordova, who says they are not sure why this is hitting a normally strong group… Some doctors have argued that the virus may actually provoke strong symptoms in those with the most powerful immune systems, leading to their deaths,” according to the Telegraph.
The CDC has made available a transcript of it’s Tuesday media briefing. DHS has made available a transcript of the DHS Secretary’s briefing where she was joined by the Secretary of Agriculture and US Trade Representative.