Swine Flu Is Spreading Wider Than Official Data Show (Update2)
By Jason Gale
May 25 (Bloomberg) -- Swine flu is spreading more widely than official figures indicate, with outbreaks in Europe and Asia showing it’s gained a foothold in at least three regions.
One in 20 cases is being officially reported in the U.S., meaning more than 100,000 people have probably been infected nationwide with the new H1N1 flu strain, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In the U.K., the virus may be 300 times more widespread than health authorities have said, the Independent on Sunday reported yesterday.
Japan, which has reported the most cases in Asia, began reopening schools at the weekend after health officials said serious medical complications had not emerged in those infected. The virus is now spreading in the community in Australia, Jim Bishop, the nation’s chief medical officer, said yesterday.
“I think we will see the number rise,” Bishop told Australian Broadcasting Corp. radio today after confirming the nation’s 17th case and saying test results are pending on 41 others. “This is going to be a marathon rather than a sprint.”
Forty-six countries have confirmed 12,515 cases, including 91 deaths, according to the World Health Organization’s latest tally. Almost four of every five cases were in Mexico and the U.S., where the pig-derived strain was discovered last month. Most of those infected experience an illness similar to that of seasonal flu. The main difference is that the new H1N1 strain is persisting outside the Northern Hemisphere winter.