H1N1 Deaths Comparable to Seasonal Flu
(Ivanhoe Newswire) -- In the newest study assessing the severity of the American swine flu epidemic, researchers found the number of H1N1 deaths is slightly higher than or considerably lower than that caused by the average annual seasonal flu.
Researchers sought to measure the severity of swine flu, defined by how often the virus lead to illness, hospitalization or death. The study involved data from Milwaukee and New York City combined with data recorded previously by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Researchers' statistical approach revealed that if H1N1 continues its summer behavior, the autumn to winter swine flu wave should have a death rate comparable to an average flu year. The primary difference seen was age at death. Typical flu seasons mainly kill elderly adults, while this will not be the case for swine flu patients, experts predict.
Researchers say that the severity of illness caused by H1N1 was hard to measure. The higher the severity, the higher likelihood patients would seek care, making it difficult to measure a total number of cases. In addition, they say the number of cases is overburdening public health systems and making it difficult to record routine data.
SOURCE: PLoS Medicine, December 2009
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