Characteristics that distinguish the H1N1 virus in how it affects respiratory illness from other viruses have been documented in a recent study.
Phil Chan, of the Rhode Island Hospital, studied the signs, symptoms, and laboratory findings of 668 adult and paediatric patients who were treated at Rhode Island Hospital or its partner, The Miriam Hospital, between October and December 2009 with a confirmed viral infection.
"Compared to patients with other viruses, individuals with novel Influenza A, or H1N1, were more likely to present with subjective fever, cough, sore throat, nausea/vomiting. The mean white blood count of patients with H1N1 is lower than with other viruses as well," said Chan.
Leonard Mermel of the Rhode Island Hospital said: "Perhaps more striking is that patients with the novel Influenza A virus may have higher mortality rates compared to other respiratory viruses in the patients studied."
"As a result of this study, and based on available data in the literature, we recommend that high-risk patients infected with novel Influenza A receive expedient antiviral therapy," he added.
The findings were presented at the annual meeting of the Infectious Diseases Society of America to be held in Vancouver.