Early signs suggest swine flu will boost hospitalizations, but not mortality

As virtually any clinician knows, plain old seasonal flu is plenty tough enough to kill a significant number of Americans each year. As the H1N1 virus has spread, however, some have been afraid that this one would be much worse.

As it turns out, however, countries outside of the U.S.--specifically Australia and New Zealand--are finding that while swine flu cases are filling up intensive care units, they aren't killing more people than traditional flu outbreaks.

To draw this conclusion, CDC researchers looked at charts from 272 people hospitalized with H1N1 flu between April and mid-June. They found that one-quarter ended up in the ICU, and 7 percent died.

Almost three quarters of those patients had underlying conditions that aggravated their condition, such as asthma, diabetes or heart or lung ailments. The disease also hit pregnant women and children hard, while the elderly were less likely to experience severe illness, the CDC researchers said.

To learn more about this research:
- read this HealthDay News piece

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