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The latest on H1N1 flu from the Harvard Health Letter
Date:10/8/2009

So far, the 2009 swine flu (H1N1) pandemic has been more widespread than lethal, notes the Harvard Health Letter. The novel H1N1 virus has some properties that seem to make it less capable of causing serious disease than had been expected.

Boston, MA (Vocus) October 9, 2009 -- So far, the 2009 swine flu (H1N1) pandemic has been more widespread than lethal, notes the Harvard Health Letter. The novel H1N1 virus has some properties that seem to make it less capable of causing serious disease than had been expected.

At least early in the flu season, in the relatively rare instances when H1N1 has caused complications that result in hospitalization (and even more rarely, death), the people most likely to be affected have been young, especially school-age children, whereas older people seem relatively protected, reports the Harvard Health Letter.

The pattern for regular "seasonal" flu virus that circulates every winter is just the opposite: it's the old who are far more vulnerable to complications, which typically involve a secondary bacterial infection that causes pneumonia.

The explanation most often given for the difference is that older people may have some residual immunity from past exposure to H1N1 flu viruses--viruses similar to, but not exactly the same as, this year's novel H1N1.
Harvard experts discussed the latest on the H1N1 pandemic at a forum held on the Harvard Medical School campus on September 25. The video is posted here: http://hms.harvard.edu/public/h1n1/index.html.

"The good news is that virtually everything we have learned since the early days of this pandemic has pointed toward a lower level of concern," said Marc Lipsitch, an epidemiologist at the Harvard School of Public Health and a member of the H1N1 scientif
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