WASHINGTON - A STUDY of people who became seriously ill and died with the new pandemic swine flu confirms it is hitting a younger population than the seasonal flu and causes often different symptoms.
The study of 272 patients sick enough to be hospitalized showed about 40 per cent had diarrhoea and vomiting - usually rare with seasonal flu - and confirmed that quick treatment with antivirals could save lives.
Dr Seema Jain of the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, who led the study, said the findings had informed the CDC's advice on who should worry about the new H1N1 virus and when to get treatment.
They said 45 per cent were children under 18, just 5 per cent were over 65 and 73 per cent had at least one underlying condition such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and pregnancy.
The soonest any of the patients who died were treated with an antiviral drug was three days after they started showing symptoms, the researchers found. Patients treated earlier all survived.
Even if patients do not have the traditional risk factors for serious disease, they should get antiviral drugs if they are sick enough to be hospitalized, Dr Jain said. -- REUTERS