Mt. Vernon Register-News

December 4, 2009

Racial disparities seen in state swine flu deaths


CHICAGO (AP) — Illinois officials say swine flu hospitalization and death rates for blacks and Hispanics are higher than the rates for whites.

More chronic health problems, lower vaccination rates and less access to health care may contribute.

The swine flu hospitalization rate for blacks and Hispanics is three times higher compared to whites, while the death rate is two times higher.

State officials discussed the rates Friday at a meeting in Chicago. Federal officials say more research is needed to determine whether it’s a national trend.

Flu activity is slowing nationally, with medical visits declining for the fourth straight week.

Health officials have been meeting with journalists working for the ethnic news media in many U.S. cities, and the Chicago meeting was part of that effort.

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On the Net: http://www.flu.gov