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CDC lowers flu season death estimate

The New York Times, August 27, 2010

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Thursday substantially lowered its often-quoted estimate of how many people die in a typical flu season, to 24,000 from 36,000. The previous estimate, the agency said, was based on a study of the years 1990 to 1999, during which the H3N2 strain of flu predominated, and H3N2 is far more deadly to the elderly than the other two common seasonal strains, H1N1 and B. The new estimate is based on a re-evaluation of the years 1976 to 2007. Deaths attributed to flu fluctuated widely, from a low of 3,349 in the winter of 1986-7 to a high of 48,614 in 2003-4.