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Swine Flu Is More Severe Than Seasonal Flu, Ferret Study Finds

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posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 05:23 PM

July 2 (Bloomberg) -- Swine flu caused more-severe illness in ferrets than seasonal flu, according to two studies in the journal Science that help explain why the H1N1 virus causes symptoms not seen in regular flu such as nausea and vomiting.

The H1N1 swine flu virus went further into the ferrets’ lungs, and also penetrated the gastrointestinal tract while seasonal flu stayed in the nasal cavity, researchers from the U.S. and the Netherlands found. Ferrets are affected by flu viruses much as humans are, the researchers said.

Swine flu has struck at least 77,201 people in 113 nations worldwide, killing 332, according to laboratory-confirmed reports compiled by the World Health Organization, which has declared the first flu pandemic since 1968. While the virus causes little more than a fever and cough in most people, a previous study showed that about 40 percent of those infected have developed symptoms such as diarrhea, vomiting and nausea.

“These data suggest that the 2009 A(H1N1) influenza virus has the ability to persist in the human population, potentially with more severe clinical consequences,” wrote the Dutch study authors, led by Ron Fouchier at the Erasmus Medical Center in Rotterdam.

The two studies were published online today. Both groups found that ferrets infected with swine flu lost more weight than those exposed to seasonal flu, and that the swine flu virus was more widespread in the animals’ bodies.

When they examined the transmissibility of the virus, the two groups found conflicting evidence. Fouchier and colleagues, who used a strain of swine flu taken from the first person infected in the Netherlands, said ferrets passed it to each other through the air as easily as seasonal flu.

Efficiency Finding

The U.S. researchers, led by Terrence Tumpey at the Atlanta-based Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, said the ferrets in their study didn’t transmit the swine flu strains they used, taken from patients in California, Texas and Mexico, as efficiently as seasonal flu strains.

Swine flu doesn’t latch on to healthy cells in the human respiratory tract as easily as seasonal flu because of a genetic mutation, the CDC researchers said.

Inefficient transmission suggests the virus would need to mutate to become as transmissible as seasonal flu or the 1918 pandemic virus, they said.

Here is just a little something for people who say the regualr flu is worse.

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 05:58 PM
FYI........the CDC level is at stage 2

This means that the death rate will be from 90,000 to 400,000

posted on Jul, 2 2009 @ 06:47 PM
Here in NZ, we have had numerous cases but no deaths from swine flu. We had one woman in a critical condition for a short period, although she was described as morbidly obese with previous respitory problems. Most, if not all of the people who I have heard about who contractd H1N1 have described it as mild, and no worse than the normal flu (exept for the woman with existing problems). In fact, some said it was no worse than the common cold!

Obviously I havn't heard about everyone and it's entirely possible that we have had some more serious cases. We are in the middle of Winter, and it hasn't hit harder or mutated as some people predicted, but I guess we'll have to wait and see.

Presently, I have no fears or worries regarding H1N1 in it's current form. What i would be afraid of is compulsory vaccination, but I can't see that happening any time soon.

posted on Jul, 3 2009 @ 12:27 AM
The research results were discussed in the dutch media today.
They are expecting about a third of the population to have the Mexican flu at one time. The conclude this mostly because of the fact that the strain they tested in the Netherlands has gone 'airborne'.

And for the first time they stated that not only people with asthma and a heart condition, but also the obese were especially at risk.

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