Large scale outbreak of pandemic flu among adults in Thailand

An outbreak of influenza has been reported in Thailand in Ubon Ratchathani province at a conference for educational officials.

From The Nation, August 8, 2010 [hat-tip, Pixie]:

The random test’s diagnosis of human Swine flu among 60 participants had prompted the seminar to be called off and all 336 participants were asked to leave Ubon Ratchathani.

At least 10 of these officials have been hospitalised (The Nation, August 7, 2010).

This appears to be an outbreak of pandemic H1N1, although there were some reports of multiple strains of flu.

Although some have referred to the 2009 pandemic virus as “mild”, this is false. The case fatality rate among those who were infected is quite high. For children, it is 5 to 10 times higher than “regular” flu. As bad as that statistic is, the flu seems to be even more lethal to adults who become infected. The presumed basis for the “mild” meme has been that relatively few adults were infected and hence the absolute numbers of deaths in this population was not as high as in a normal flu year. The failure of the virus to spread effectively in adults has been attributed to pre-existing immunity as a result of infection with older strains of influenza among adults, especially the elderly.

As far as I have been able to determine, there have been virtually no large outbreaks of pandemic 2009 among adults, until now. Has the virus changed such that it can now spread efficiently among adults? If so, we can expect many more outbreaks among adults.

And many more deaths.


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