Number of U.S. Swine Flu Cases Rises

The number of swine flu cases and deaths in the United States continues to go up. The CDC announced today the number of U.S. deaths from the illness nearly doubled over the past week. As Laurie Johnson reports — health officials say people still need to be cautious about the spread of the illness.

The national count of confirmed swine flu cases rose to more than 21,000 this week. That's 3,000 more than last week. And the CDC reports the number of deaths went up from 44 to 87 this week.

Dr. Herbert DuPont directs the Center for Infectious Diseases at the UT School of Public Health. He says the numbers in and of themselves aren't alarming.

"The number of deaths is actually very small compared to a normal flu season. What's surprising is we're talking about June in Texas with hundred-degree weather and influenza — that's the shock."

That's because influenza thrives in cool, dry weather. DuPont says during the humid summertime, the virus tends to go away.

But DuPont says because of the large number of cases in Texas, people should keep their guard up.

"Kids are getting it at camps that they go to and individuals are getting exposed at school. So I think for another month, until the weather really gets hot across the country, we're going to be seeing cases of swine flu."

DuPont says you should try to maintain a distance of six feet between you and anyone who exhibits symptoms. Also cover your mouth when coughing and wash your hands frequently.

Wisconsin, Illinois and Texas have had the most reported cases of swine flu.

Laurie Johnson. KUHF-Houston Public Radio News.


Bio photo of Laurie Johnson

Laurie Johnson

Local Host, All Things Considered

Laurie Johnson is the Houston host for All Things Considered at KUHF NPR for Houston. Before taking the anchor chair, she worked as a general assignments reporter at KUHF, starting there as an intern in 2002...