This Winter Swine Flu Could Hospitalize 2 Million in U.S.

Nearly 2 million Americans could be hospitalized during this winter's novel H1N1 influenza pandemic, with as many as 300,000 clogging intensive care units in heavily affected regions, according to a report released Monday by the President's Council of Advisors on Science and Technology.

Overall, 20% to 40% of the population could develop symptoms of the strain commonly known as swine flu, and 30,000 to 90,000 could die, according to the report. During a normal flu season, the virus kills about 35,000 Americans, reports The Los Angeles Times.

According to Reuters, Iran said Wednesday a woman had died of the H1N1 virus in a northwestern region, the Islamic Republic's first fatality from the new flu strain, state radio said.

"Unfortunately a woman from Maragheh (in East Azerbaijan province) died of the flu because she also suffered from chronic respiratory problems," Deputy Health Minister Hassan Emami Razavi said, without giving further details.

He also said a 12-year-old boy with the flu was in a "bad condition" in a Tehran hospital.

Another Health Ministry official said 285 people in Iran had been diagnosed with the flu.

"The state lab has told us to stop testing for swine flu and treat the symptoms," Dr. Jonathan Southworth, a physician at Brewton Medical Center, said. "That’s about all that we are doing. They have all been mild cases, and most of the patients are children and young adults. The best thing to do is to start treatment as soon as possible after they get sick. Of course, we still recommend that you should wash your hands, limit the exposure to others who are sick, and stay home after the first symptoms begin."

Lynn Smith, superintendent of Brewton City Schools said the flu has not caused excessive absences yet.

“Not quite 10 percent of the absentee students have actually been tested for flu,” Smith said. "Usually by the time the tests come back the child is back in school anyway. As of Monday, we had 27 absentees at the Brewton Elementary School, 51 at Brewton Middle School and 50 at T.R. Miller High School. All of those wouldn’t have had the flu, but some of them did," reports Brewton Standard.