According to new estimates released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), one in six Americans have contracted H1N1, or swine flu. That's more than twice as many infected in the last estimate—22 million as of mid-October 2009.
The report states that the large jump is due to a second peak of illnesses that occurred just after the last publicized estimate.
The H1N1 flu has been confirmed as the cause of death in about 10,000 patients—more than three-quarters of whom were between 18 and 65—and had resulted in 200,000 hospitalizations.
While seasonal flu kills an estimated 36,000 Americans each year, that number includes elderly patients who die from complications that the flu worsens—heart problems, pneumonia and strokes. The H1N1 death toll of 10,000 is considered conservative because it does not include those who died from these types of secondary illness.
While 50 million Americans have had H1N1, that leaves 250 million who have not. If you have not gotten an H1N1 vaccination, the CDC recommends doing so.