H1N1 threat overblown, report says

We’re six months into the outbreak of H1N1 flu and we still can’t seem to get a clear picture of how serious the outbreak is.

True, some hospitals in the Twin Cities have turned away patients because they’re overwhelmed with people who either have or think they have H1N1, but a CBS News investigation this afternoon claims the statistics are overblown.

It’s impossible to know for sure because the Centers for Disease Control in July told states to stop testing patients for H1N1.

Had the states conducted the testing, CBS says, we would have found out that most people who have H1N1, really don’t:

We asked all 50 states for their statistics on state lab-confirmed H1N1 prior to the halt of individual testing and counting in July. The results reveal a pattern that surprised a number of health care professionals we consulted. The vast majority of cases were negative for H1N1 as well as seasonal flu, despite the fact that many states were specifically testing patients deemed to be most likely to have H1N1 flu, based on symptoms and risk factors, such as travel to Mexico.

Meanwhile, Minnesota has set up a “flu hotline” for those people who think they’ve got the flu. The FluLine number is 1-866-259-4655.