ATLANTA — A U.S. health official said at least five people are hospitalized with swine flu in the United States and deaths are likely.
"I fully expect we will see deaths from this infection," as swine flu cases are investigated, said Richard Besser, acting director of the federal Centers for Disease Control. He said he did not know about a newspaper report of two deaths in two southern California hospitals in which the victims seemed to be suffering from swine flu symptoms.
"I would say I'm very concerned," Besser said. "We are dealing with a new strain of influenza, we're dealing with a strain of influenza that appears to be moving through our community."
Based on the latest lab analysis, Besser said new flu infections are still occurring. He noted, however, that ordinary human flu accounts for about 36,000 deaths every year in the U.S.
He said hospitalizations nationwide include three in California and two in Texas.
Besser said the country has 64 confirmed cases in five states, with 45 in New York, one in Ohio, two in Kansas, six in Texas and 10 in California. At least four other cases have been reported by states.