Sickest swine flu cases in Canada, Mexico detailed

Oct 12, 2009 By LINDSEY TANNER , AP Medical Writer

(AP) -- Rapidly worsening breathing problems in the sickest swine flu patients in Mexico and Canada present a scary worst-case scenario and could foreshadow what U.S. doctors face as winter flu season sets in, new reports suggest.

In the global outbreak's first wave, many critically ill patients in both countries were obese, although their weren't higher than others. Many in both countries also were younger than those typically hard hit by seasonal flu, as has been found in the United States.

Patients studied worsened quickly after being admitted to hospitals. Most survived after intensive, lengthy treatment, although the death rate in Mexican patients studied - 41 percent - was much higher.

The reports were published online Monday in the .

They aren't a true snapshot on prevalence. But a JAMA editorial says they provide clues on what hospitals elsewhere may see in coming months.

A report on U.S. cases published last week in the provided similar guidance. It found that one-quarter of Americans sick enough to be hospitalized with swine flu last spring needed intensive care and 7 percent died.

In the Mexican report on six hospitals between March and June, critical illness developed quickly in 58 of almost 900 patients with confirmed or suspected swine flu patients - a rate of just under 7 percent. But 24 of these sickest patients died within two months, said the study led by Dr. Guillermo Dominguez-Cherit of the National Institute of Medical Sciences and Nutrition Salvador Zubiran in Mexico City.

The Canadian study, led by Dr. Anand Kumar of the Health Sciences Center and St. Boniface Hospital in Winnipeg, involved 168 critically ill patients treated at 38 hospitals between April and August. The 90-day death rate was 17 percent.

The JAMA editorial noted that while treatment including antibiotics, antiviral drugs and mechanical breathing machines has advanced since the deadly 1918-19 Spanish flu pandemic, many U.S. hospitals may lack adequate staffing levels to provide timely treatment if critical cases surge.

Deaths that result from inadequate planning "will be especially tragic," the editorial said.

---

On the Net:

JAMA: http://jama.ama-assn.org/

©2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Explore further: Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

add to favorites email to friend print save as pdf

Related Stories

Obesity a risk factor in swine flu?

Jul 10, 2009

(AP) -- Some swine flu cases in Michigan are raising questions about obesity's role in why some people with infections become seriously ill.

Recommended for you

Presence of peers ups health workers' hand hygiene

2 hours ago

(HealthDay)—The presence of other health care workers improves hand hygiene adherence, according to a study published in the October issue of Infection Control and Hospital Epidemiology.

Sierra Leone streets deserted as shutdown begins

10 hours ago

Sierra Leone's normally chaotic capital resembled a ghost town on Friday as residents were confined to their homes for the start of a three-day lockdown aimed at halting the deadly Ebola epidemic.

Sierra Leone launches controversial Ebola shutdown

12 hours ago

Sierra Leone on Friday launched a controversial three-day shutdown to contain the deadly spread of the Ebola virus, as the UN Security Council declared the deadly outbreak a threat to world peace.

User comments : 1

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

deatopmg
1 / 5 (1) Oct 12, 2009
Take a hint from ANZ; http://www.physor...517.html