Vaccination, antivirals and social distancing may help in reducing the impact of H1N1 virus, suggests a new Canadian epidemiological modelling study.
Researchers examined data from laboratory-confirmed cases of H1N1 between April 13 and June 20, 2009 in Ontario, Canada and carried out 1000 simulations to estimate epidemiological parameters for the virus to come up with their findings.
Dr. David Fisman of the Dalla Lana School of Public Health, University of Toronto, and co-authors write: "Because the 2009 influenza pandemic continues to evolve, these values are critical for planning and can be used to reduce some of the uncertainty around the health burden likely to be associated with this disease in the coming months."
The research showed that the median incubation period for H1N1 influenza was 4 days and duration of symptoms 7 days. Patients aged 18 years and under showed faster improvement than the older ones patients and the risk of hospital admission among laboratory-confirmed cases (who likely represented 1-10percent of total cases) was 4.5percent.
People aged below 1 year of age and above 65 years had more chance of hospital admission. Adults over 50 constituted 7percent of cases but made up for 7 of 10 initial deaths.
The research found that the characteristics of the H1N1 virus are similar to those of seasonal influenza. But the authors noted: "However, when combined with high attack rates in younger groups, there may be greater absolute numbers of hospital admissions and deaths than are observed in a typical influenza season."