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Swine Flu Vaccine on Track for Fall: CDC
Date:7/17/2009

mericans have been stricken with the swine flu. The reason for the disparity: The virus continues to produce mild symptoms and patients typically recover quickly.

Schuchat said she expects to see a new outbreak of H1N1 swine flu in the United States in the fall. It will most likely start earlier than seasonal flu, she said. Seasonal flu typically surfaces in late fall.

Unlike seasonal flu, the H1N1 flu continues to pose more problems for younger people, Schuchat added. "There are a higher attack rates and hospitalizations in younger adults and children," she said.

In the Southern Hemisphere, where the winter flu season is under way, cases of H1N1 virus infection are being reported, along with cases of seasonal flu, Schuchat said. "In the reports we have, the virus continues to affect generally younger people, sparing the elderly to a great extent," she said.

And, as in the United States, the H1N1 virus is causing severe respiratory problems in the Southern Hemisphere, a trend that's unique to the new strain of flu and not seen in seasonal flu, Schuchat noted. "We've heard of intensive-care units with many younger people who have this new H1N1 virus."

Last month, researchers reported in the New England Journal of Medicine that, unlike seasonal flu, the new H1N1 flu strain attacks younger people and can be more severe and deadly in that group.

One report focused on the initial flu outbreak last spring in Mexico that included 2,155 cases of swine flu reported by the end of April. Researchers zeroed in on the 100 people who died and what caused those deaths. They found that 87 percent of the deaths and 71 percent of the cases of pneumonia were seen in people aged 5 to 59. That's unlike what is seen with seasonal flu epidemics, in which, on average, 17 percent of those in that age range who are seriously ill die and 32 percent develop severe pneumonia, the researchers said.

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