Thursday, January 21st, 2010
Ten times as many children in London probably caught swine flu as doctors’ records suggest, researchers found in a study highlighting the role younger people play in spreading the pandemic virus.
Tests for infection-fighting antibodies against the new H1N1 strain on almost 2,000 blood samples showed as many as one in three children caught the virus in the pandemic’s first wave in England, according to a study in the medical journal the Lancet today. The scientists compared blood samples with specimens collected before the pandemic to gauge infection rates, even in people who had no fever, cough or other flu symptoms.
The study found children younger than 15 years were the group most likely to have been infected with swine flu, and that by the time vaccine became available in the U.K. in late October, the potential for mitigating the overall effect of the second wave by immunization was limited.
“Children have an important role in transmission of influenza and would be a key target group for vaccination both for their protection and for the protection of others through herd immunity,” the authors said.
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This article was posted: Thursday, January 21, 2010 at 10:37 am