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Swine Flu May Bring Surge in Hospitalizations
Date:10/8/2009

admission and ... the extra workload lasts several weeks."

As of Sept. 7, 103 of the 722 Australian/New Zealand patients -- or just over 14 percent -- had died, while 15.8 percent were still in the hospital.

Even though that seems like a high death rate, Kuittinen pointed out that these patients were typically very sick before catching the flu and probably had multiple other health problems.

And the mortality rate was no higher than that typically seen with seasonal flu, stressed the authors of the report, from several different universities in Australia.

Another expert said the findings were in line with expectations.

"It verifies a lot of our planning notions for the past couple of years. We're seeing a lot of the same numbers, it's reassurance," said Dr. Michael Proctor, director of training at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health and the National Center for Emergency Medical Preparedness and Response, in College Station, Texas.

"There's no cause for panic, just cause for caution," Kuittinen added. "Look at this, hear this news and practice good hygiene. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizers, sneeze into a tissue."

More information

Learn more about H1N1 flu from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.



SOURCES: Tamara R. Kuittinen, M.D. emergency physician, Lenox Hill Hospital, New York City; Anthony Fauci, M.D., director, U.S. National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases, Bethesda, Md.; Michael Proctor, M.D., director of training at Texas A&M Health Science Center School of Rural Public Health and the National Center for Emergency Medical Preparedness and Response; College Station, Tex; Oct. 8, 2009, New England Journal of Medicine, online


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