Mexican swine flu hits hard

swine-fluA the new strain of H1N1 flu, but not the only H1N1 in circulation, is hitting young, healthy people hard according to the Globe & Mail: “Younger Women Hit Hard by H1N1 virus, study suggests.” The article first says that 1% need intensive care; but then reports that 20% are hospitalized and 4% are moved to an Intensive Care Unit.

  • The vast majority of victims are sick for a week or so and then recover, but some need intensive care in hospital
  • Of that 1%, 67% are younger, healthy women and 30% are children. That means only 3% are old people or younger, healthy men.
  • One in six (17%) of those admitted to intensive care died–and of that 17%, 72% were women. That means women had a higher chance of dying than other patients with the same condition.
  • In seasonal flu, almost all the victims who die are over 65 years old. But the average age of the women who died was 42. Older people seem to be protected by their exposure to older strains of the flu.

The article says:

According to the study, 81 per cent of H1N1 patients in ICU had to be placed on a ventilator, 14 per cent received inhaled nitric oxide (a rare treatment used for those in severe respiratory distress) and 4 per cent were so ill that they were placed on extracorporeal membrane oxygenation (ECMO, a machine that usually substitutes for the heart and lungs during heart surgery).

According to the research, of the first 7,107 reported cases of H1N1 in Canada, 1,441 required hospitalization (20.3 per cent) and 278 were admitted to ICU (3.9 per cent).

Of those admitted to intensive care, 67.3 per cent were female and 29.8 per cent were children. The average age of those in ICU was 32. Another notable statistic is that 25.6 per cent of those who fell gravely ill were aboriginal.

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