The A/H1N1 flu death toll in the United States has reached 263, while confirmed and probable cases rose to 40,617, according to the latest statistics released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on Friday.
The CDC said that 52 more deaths have been reported in the past week, a 25-percent jump from the previous record of 211, and 3,371new cases have emerged, representing a 9-percent increase from the previous total of 37,246 released a week ago.
The state of New York continues to lead the nation with 57 deaths of the new flu virus, while the state of California follows closely with 55. Meanwhile, the state of Wisconsin has been leading the nation with 6,031 cases of the A/H1N1 flu, followed by the state of Texas with 4,975 cases.
However, those are "really just the tip of the iceberg," Dr. Anne Schuchat, a leading CDC expert, said two weeks ago. She and other CDC experts believe that there might be more than one million Americans who have been infected with the A/H1N1 virus, though many probably had only a mild illness.
The reported numbers of cases of A/H1N1 flu by the CDC do not reflect how many actual cases there may be in the United State because individuals in outpatient settings are no longer being tested for the presence of the virus and many cases go undetected due to the mild nature of disease among most people, the CDC officials and experts explained.
Laboratory testing is limited to individuals with serious A/H1N1 illness, including hospitalized patients, and those at high risk for complications, they added.
A survey conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health said on Thursday that about three out of five Americans believe there will be widespread A/H1N1 flu cases in the coming fall or winter.
A quarter of Americans said they probably would lose their job or business if they had to stay home a week or more because they were sick or had to care for someone, according to the latest telephone survey of more than 1,800 U.S. Adults, released on Thursday.
The CDC health officials and experts are urging people to be prepared for the pandemic declared by World Health Organization last month.