Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Study: 2009 Swine Flu Pandemic Was Ten Times Worse

Posted By on Wed, Nov 27, 2013 at 9:57 AM

In 2009, a Swine Flu panic fanned the flames of an already raging debate about the need for immunizations as health agencies across the nation, including Boise, set up special inoculation centers to push back against the H1N1 influenza.

And now, it turns out that the global pandemic was much worse than originally thought. Initially, the World Health Organization had listed the global death toll from the H1N1 pandemic at 18,449, based on laboratory-confirmed cases. But a new analysis in the journal PLOS Medicine indicates that H1N1 deaths may have killed 123,000-203,000 people from respiratory illness worldwide. In particular, fatalities mounted in Mexico, Argentina and Brazil.

"We found that the mortality burden of this pandemic fell most heavily on younger people and those living in certain parts of the Americas," said study author Lone Simonsen at George Washington University in Washington, D.C. "It is this 'signature age shift' that sets pandemic influenza apart from seasonal influenza."

Usually, seasonal influenza has the worst effect on seniors, but the 2009 H1N1 pandemic targeted young adults in 62 to 85 percent of its victims.

The researchers found that when the H1N1 deaths due to causes other than respiratory disease are included, the 2009 pandemic toll might be as high as 400,000 people.

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