Research carried out by the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance has suggested that the risk of dying from swine flu is increased if a person is obese.
During the research 574 deaths from the H1N1 virus, commonly known as swine flu, that occurred in various parts of the world up until mid July, were studied and obesity, along with pregnancy, was identified as a factor putting a person at particular risk of dying from the virus.
The research seems to support the findings of a survey conducted in May by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) which, according to a report by the Washington Post at the time, confirmed that who contracted swine flu were vulnerable to complications from the virus if they were severely overweight.
Conducted amongst those hospitalized in California with the virus, the CDC survey also found pregnancy, heart disease and diabetes to be conditions that increased the risk of complications for swine flu sufferers. Some 66 per cent of the patients surveyed had an underlying medical condition.
And in Michigan too, a strong link between obesity and the risk of complications from the H1N1 virus was seemingly established. An article in Digital Journal in early July said that health officials in the state had found that out of ten patients they had studied, who had severe cases of the virus, nine were obese or extremely obese.
The Med Guru reports that the findings of the latest research carried out by the French team can be found in the medical journal Eurosurveillance.
With an underlying condition present in 50 per cent or more of cases where contracting swine flu eventually led to death, an analysis of those deaths revealed that more than 25 per cent of patients had a metabolic condition such as diabetes or obesity. Or possibly both. Those involved in the research warned that further investigation was needed before the connection between obesity and death from swine flu was declared to be certain but each new study does seem to be reinforcing its relevance to the work currently being undertaken by epidemiologists.
An obese man
One further aspect of the research by the French team which supported previous theories on those sections of the population most at risk of death from H1N1 related to age. The average age of the 574 people who died was found to be 37, with over half of the deaths occurring in the 20 to 49 age range. In contrast only 12 per cent of those who died were over 60. It is thought that older people may have developed a degree of immunity to swine flu, having been exposed to similar strains earlier on in their lives.
Meanwhile the Health Protection Agency in the U.K. has reported a reduction in cases of swine flu in England, despite an increase elsewhere in the world.
However with Fall/Autumn approaching it is feared that numbers contracting the virus will increase.
And the researchers from the French Institute for Public Health Surveillance have no doubt that swine flu is here to stay for a while yet, saying:The pandemic is far from over, and deaths will unfortunately continue to occur. As in previous pandemics, available data show that age groups are not equally affected