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Most H1N1 Hospitalizations Are in Young Patients

According to CDC report, about a quarter of deaths are occurring in those younger than 25

WEDNESDAY, Oct. 21 (HealthDay News) -- More than half of hospitalizations for H1N1 influenza are occurring in people younger than 25 years of age, and very few are occurring in the elderly, according to information presented at the Oct. 20 press briefing by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Anne Schuchat, M.D., director of the CDC's National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases in Atlanta, said that, based on data from 27 states, 53 percent of H1N1 hospitalizations since Sept. 1 have been in people younger than 25, 39 percent have been in people ages 25 to 64, and 7 percent have been in people aged 65 and older. With seasonal flu, about 60 percent of hospitalizations occur in those aged 65 or older.

Schuchat also said that, according to data collected from 28 states, 23.6 percent of deaths have been in the under-25 age group, 65 percent in the 25-to-64-year-old group, and about 12 percent in the 65-and-older group. With seasonal flu, 90 percent of deaths are in people age 65 and older. Schuchat emphasized that early treatment with antivirals is imperative in high-risk patients and those with severe presentations. She said that if physicians suspect flu in these patients, they should not wait for laboratory confirmations.

"The hospitalizations and deaths continue, and they're continuing [more] in younger people than we would see in seasonal flu. Antiviral drugs are a critical part of the response to the flu problem. And not waiting for that test result is the advice right now for clinicians who are seeing people where they really do think it's flu," Schuchat concludes.

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