Updated Dec 31, 2009
According to CDC (the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention):
Each flu season is unique, but it is estimated that, on average, approximately 5% to 20% of U.S. residents get the flu, and more than 200,000 persons are hospitalized for flu-related complications each year. About 36,000 Americans die on average per year from the complications of flu. (Full)
According to the BBC:
It is worth remembering that seasonal flu often poses a serious threat to public health: each year it kills 250,000 - 500,000 around the world. (Full)
To put this in perspective with A(H1N1) swine flu, WHO (The World Health Organisation) states in their latest update:
As of 27 December 2009, worldwide more than 208 countries and overseas territories or communities have reported laboratory confirmed cases of pandemic influenza H1N1 2009, including at least 12,220 deaths. (Full)
And in a broader perspective:
An average of 195,000 people in the USA died due to potentially preventable, in-hospital medical errors in each of the years 2000, 2001 and 2002, according to a study of 37 million patient records released in 2004. (Full)
Check out the A(H1N1) swine flu casualty maps I collected.
If you are a bit sarcastic about it all, check The Dos and Donts to avoid swine flu infection.
Picture courtesy Alfredo Estrella/AFP/Getty Images