H1N1 taking toll on vastly different group than seasonal flu: Butler-Jones

The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada says statistics on hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths due to H1N1 flu show how different a bug this is than seasonal influenza.

This image taken through a microscope and provided by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention

TORONTO — The head of the Public Health Agency of Canada says statistics on hospitalizations, ICU admissions and deaths due to H1N1 flu show how different a bug this is than seasonal influenza.

Dr. David Butler-Jones says the pandemic virus is hitting a group much younger than seasonal flu does and points to numbers from the 2007-2008 flu season to make the point.

As of Nov. 21, the median age for hospitalization with H1N1 in Canada is 26, compared to 71 years of age for seasonal flu in 2007-2008.

The median age for ICU admission is 45, 23 years younger than the median age of 68 seen in the 2007 flu season.

And the median age of deaths caused by the pandemic virus is 54, decades younger than the median age of 82 from that earlier flu season.

Butler-Jones says children under five have the highest rate of admission to ICUs with this flu, followed by adults 45 to 64.

He warns that even if many parts of Canada appear to be past the peak of this wave of infection, lots of people will become ill and some with die before H1N1 runs its course.

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