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H1N1 Often Hit the Young and Healthy
Date:5/5/2010

kind of global impact on mortality we might have seen with a more virulent epidemic but it did have a very substantial impact on health-care resources," Treanor said. "[Although] the mortality was lower than you would expect in a pandemic, that mortality did occur very much in younger people so if you look at it in terms of years of life lost, it becomes very significant."

In direct opposition to the seasonal flu, most of the deaths have occurred in people under the age of 65 and notably in children and young adults. Children under the age of 5, especially those younger than than 12 months, have had the highest hospitalization rates.

Among the report's other findings:

  • H1N1 spread very much like the "regular" flu and has been common in crowded places such as schools, day-care settings, camps and hospitals.
  • Like the seasonal flu, symptoms can include coughing, fever and a sore throat but, unlike the seasonal flu, many people had gastrointestinal problems such as nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.
  • Because symptoms can be similar, H1N1 may have been mistaken for other infections which are treatable, such as malaria or Legionnaire's Disease.
  • The virus does respond to Tamiflu (oseltamivir) and Relenza (zanamivir), but is mostly resistant to amantadine and rimantadine.

As for the near future, experts don't expect to see a major resurgence.

"I think periodically we're going to get ups and down, depending on the area of the country and what the conditions were, if it was crowded, if there were a lot of immunosuppressed individuals. But the numbers, overall, will continue to be low," said Dr. Mary desVignes-Kendrick, a research scientist in epidemiology and biostatistics at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health in Houston.

Public health officials have recently seen an uptick in cases in the southeastern United States.

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