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Thursday 27th October 2016

Swine flu 'not as deadly' as first thought

7th May 2009

Experts have indicated that swine flu seems to be less deadly than at first thought.

However, they are also warning against complacency and say the low number of cases so far does not preclude from there being a surge in cases.

Scientists from the Interdisciplinary Centre for Human and Avian Influenza Research have sequenced the virus.

They have discovered it is composed of North American and Eurasian swine flu viruses.

Professor Richard Elliott, professor of Virology at the Centre for Biomolecular Sciences at St Andrews University, said it remained too early to say if a pandemic was imminent.

He added: “The next two weeks are crucial. We will see if the number of cases sky-rocket or it just peters out. If the number of cases shoots up in the next few days I would be concerned.”

However, RCGP honorary secretary Dr Maureen Baker said whether or not a pandemic occurred there remain concerns that the new strain could worsen the seasonal outbreaks experienced every year.

“When a brand new strain emerges there is no resistance and new strains may emerge related to the pandemic one and could be around for 20 to 40 years,” she said.

Other experts have warned the swine flu virus is more virulent than the regular winter flu H1N1 viruses that affect humans.

Director-general of the World Health Organisation Dr Margaret Chan has warned against overconfidence saying that flu viruses are “very unpredictable, very deceptive.”

“We hope it fizzles out because if it doesn’t we are heading for a big outbreak,” she said.


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