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Study Finds Military Prone to Infection With H1N1 Flu
Date:4/13/2010

Living in close quarters and young age increased risk, Singapore researchers say

TUESDAY, April 13 (HealthDay News) -- Researchers in Singapore report that those serving in the military and young adults showed higher rates of infection with the H1N1 flu during the epidemic last year.

Almost 30 percent of military personnel, who tend to be younger, appear to have been infected, versus 13.5 percent in the general population, 6.5 percent of hospital employees and 1.2 percent of those in long-term care facilities, the researchers found.

Interestingly, only 13 percent of the overall study sample was infected, leaving the remaining 87 percent still vulnerable to the virus, the study authors noted.

"In this group of individuals, only 13 percent got infected," said Dr. Kenneth Bromberg, chairman of pediatrics at The Brooklyn Hospital Center in New York City. "We can't say why, but this population will need to be vaccinated [this year] because they're not really immune to H1N1."

"The fact that large numbers remain susceptible means that it's still worthwhile to vaccinate adults after the initial wave," added Mark I.C. Chen, lead author of the report appearing in the April 14 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

The H1N1 virus first appeared last April in the Northern Hemisphere. It was detected in Singapore, a tiny nation-state on the equator, in May of 2009 and became epidemic there from late June 2009 through early August 2009.

In their study, Chen and colleagues measured changes in antibody levels in blood samples from four groups of people: the general population, military personnel, staff at an acute-care hospital, and staff and residents of long-term care facilities between June 22, 2009 and Oct. 15, 2009.

High rates of infection in the military could be due to crowded living conditions, as well as gender (males tend to be more susceptible to respira
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