One quarter of Americans sick enough to be hospitalized with swine flu last spring wound up needing intensive care and 7% of them died, the first such study of the early months of the global epidemic suggests.
Swine flu meant hospitalization for many patients, study finds
That's a little higher than with ordinary seasonal flu, several experts said. What is striking and unusual is that children and teens accounted for nearly half of these cases, including many who were previously healthy. "Contrary to the perception among many people that this influenza, novel H1N1, is mild, these data vividly demonstrate that influenza can make you very, very ill," said William Schaffner, a Vanderbilt University flu expert and spokesman for the Infectious Diseases Society of America. "Clearly, the best way to protect yourself and your family is to get vaccine as soon as it becomes available," said Schaffner, who had no role in the study but has consulted for swine flu vaccine makers.
The study was done by researchers at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, working with hospitals and state and local health departments. Results were published online by the New England Journal of Medicine.
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