HEADLINE: WHO warns of severe form of swine flu

SUMMARY: The World Health Organization indicated that some countries are experiencing cases of a more severe form of swine flu that directly affects patients’ lungs, causing otherwise healthy young people to require hospitalization. Some countries are reporting that as many as 15 percent of patients hospitalized with the novel H1N1 virus need intensive care, further straining already overburdened healthcare systems, WHO said in an update on the pandemic.

: http://www.reuters.com/article/healthNews/idUSTRE57R3DR20090829

HEADLINE: Swine flu easily overtakes other strains

Researchers reported that the novel H1N1 virus easily became dominant over the normal seasonal influenza in ferrets infected with both strains. While the study reinforces the likelihood that swine flu will spread rapidly in the northern hemisphere this fall, it also indicated that the feared mutation process may not be occurring. The H1N1 is not under evolutionary pressure right now to mix and mutate while it has a clear biological advantage over other kinds of flu, concluded the University of Maryland team.

STORY LINK: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32643415/ns/health-swine_flu/

HEADLINE: Lung damage in fatal swine flu cases more bird flu than seasonal flu: expert

A study of about 70 fatal cases of swine flu revealed similarities in lung damage to victims of H5N1 avian influenza, the chief of infectious diseases pathology at the CDC said. The avian flu virus has killed 60 percent of the 440 people known to have been infected with it. To date, that virus hasn't acquired the capacity to spread easily from person to person.

: http://www.google.com/hostednews/canadianpress/article/ALeqM5hSjzUk4a0SoIMTOLww9vZDfTijgg

ANALYSIS: This week’s news continues to underscore the elusive nature of the influenza virus.  The novel influenza A/H1N1 has manifested differently than seasonal flu since it first emerged in Mexico earlier this year.  Its significant impact on younger victims is one reason this disease has been so closely followed.  While indicators appear to show H1N1 causing more severe illness than its seasonal cousins, it bears repeating that even seasonal flu produces serious and sometimes fatal complications.

Scientists and health officials will continue to monitor H1N1 for signs of mutation to a more serious form.  This includes observing all strains in animals, the reservoir from which flu migrates to humans.  At this time, it remains impossible to project how H1N1 will change, or if it will at all.  It is also important to recognize that this flu is different than previous and seasonal varieties.  The risks posed and impact of the disease must be evaluated specific to this strain, as direct correlations to other strains hold limited validity.

Because the infection rate has continued unabated through the normally flu free summer months, there is reason to believe that flu season will see a significant increase in H1N1 spread.  This, of course, points to continued vigilance with regard to everyday precautions, staying home if ill, and early immunization.