Swine flu infected ‘fifth of people’

Swine flu infected ‘fifth of people’

At least one in five people, including 1/2 schoolchildren, were infected with swine flu throughout the first year of the pandemic in 2009, in response to data from 19 countries.

It is known the virus killed 200,000 people world wide.

A World Health Organization-led study searched for evidence of the body’s immune system fighting the virus.

It showed large numbers of folks have been infected, although not all would have developed full-blown flu.

The H1N1 virus first appeared in Mexico in 2009 and rapidly spread world wide.

Anti-bodies

An international group of researchers checked out greater than 90,000 blood samples before and through the pandemic in countries including India, Australia and the united kingdom.

They searched for antibodies that are produced when the body is infected with H1N1.

By comparing the figures before and through the pandemic, the researchers can determine what number of people were infected because the virus spread everywhere.

Approximately 24% of folk have been infected overall, but half school-age children showed signs of infection.

One of the researchers, Dr Maria Van Kerkhove from Imperial College London, said fewer than two in every 10,000 people infected died in the course of the pandemic.

“However, people who did die are much younger than in seasonal flu so the years of life lost may be rather more,” she told the BBC.

“The figures drive home how incredibly infectious the virus is,” she said.

Many older people, who typically die during outbreaks of flu, were protected as they’d been exposed to the virus decades before.

Prof John Oxford, a virology expert at Queen Mary, University of London, said the figures “make sense”.

“It was the busiest virus at the block and it displaced other influenza viruses – it was the single virus on the town.”

He said an analogous pattern will be expected in other countries that have been not analysed inside the study.