[ Back to EurekAlert! ] Public release date: 11-May-2009
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Contact: Lucy Goodchild
lucy.goodchild@imperial.ac.uk
44-078-038-86248
Imperial College London

Swine flu: Early findings about pandemic potential reported in new study

Early findings about the emerging pandemic of a new strain of influenza A (H1N1) in Mexico are published today in Science.

Researchers from the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, working in collaboration with the World Health Organisation and public health agencies in Mexico, have assessed the epidemic using data to the end of April. Their key findings are as follows:

Professor Neil Ferguson, the corresponding author of today's research from the MRC Centre for Outbreak Analysis and Modelling at Imperial College London, said: "Our study shows that this virus is spreading just as we would expect for the early stages of a flu pandemic. So far, it has been following a very similar pattern to the flu pandemic in 1957, in terms of the proportion of people who are becoming infected and the percentage of potentially fatal cases that we are seeing.

"What we're seeing is not the same as seasonal flu and there is still cause for concern we would expect this pandemic to at least double the burden on our healthcare systems. However, this initial modelling suggests that the H1N1 virus is not as easily transmitted or as lethal as that found in the flu pandemic in 1918," added Professor Ferguson.

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