Study reports H1N1 pandemic flu milder than seasonal flu strains


Swine flu was the cause of one of the deadliest flu last season. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), swine flu affected 43 million to 89 million people in the United States from April 2009 through April 10, 2010. Of these, an estimated 274,000 were hospitalized and 12,470 died.  You might agree that H1N1 swine was the different from the routine flu season. But a new study claims that H1N1 pandemic flu was actually no more serious than most seasonal strains.

Dr. Edward A. Belongia, a lead researcher from the Marshfield Clinic Research Foundation in Marshfield, Wisconsin said that the symptoms and risk of complications of H1N1 virus were found similar to those of seasonal influenza viruses.

About the Study
Researchers reviewed the hospital records of 6,874 children and adults, ages 10 to 25, living in Wisconsin. Of the patients, 545 got infected with pandemic H1N1 flu, 221 with seasonal H1N1 and 632 patients with H3N2 flu.  These patients were interviewed and tested for influenza A during the 2007 Р2008 and 2008 Р2009 flu season and from May to Nov 2009.

Researchers compared the H1N1 pandemic flu with the seasonal H1N1 flu, and the H3N2 seasonal flu. The hospital records revealed that

  • In children, 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu was not associated with hospitalization or pneumonia compared with H1N1 seasonal flu or H3N2 seasonal flu
  • In children with 2009 H1N1 pandemic flu, 1.5% were hospitalized, as compared to 3.7% with H1N1 seasonal flu and 3.1% of those with H3N2 flu
  • In adults, 4% of those with...

    H1N1 pandemic flu were hospitalized, as were 2.3% with H1N1 seasonal flu and 4.5% with H3N2 flu, they added.
  • In adults, pneumonia occurred in 4.0% of those with 2009 H1N1 infection; 2.3% of patients with seasonal H1N1; and 1.1% of those with H3N2 infection

The report was published in the Sept. 8 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Researchers concluded that the reason of wide spread infection of 2009 H1N1 swine flu virus may have been due to the high level of transmission in susceptible children and young adults rather than greater virulence of the pandemic virus.

The study might claim that Swine flu is not severe than regular seasonal flu, but I would recommend to our readers for getting the flu shot as early as possible to avoid the flu infection. If you are wondering how to stay healthy during upcoming flu season, you might want to read- Flu Season 2010-11: How to stay healthy?

Source: businessweek

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