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Swine flu pandemic could be as severe as 1968

5th May 2009

The head of the National Influenza Laboratory at the Health Protection Agency's Centre for Infections has said swine flu is not likely to reach similar proportions to the 1918 Spanish flu pandemic in the UK.

Dr Maria Zambon said that teams were working on predicting how the virus would spread in the UK. She said it was more likely to resemble the Hong Kong flu outbreak seen in 1968: "It is highly unlikely to be as severe as the 1918 pandemic...but it is worth remembering that influenza is an unpredictable virus. The virus we have here is an animal virus that is not adapted to human beings, but it is very likely it will adapt to humans."

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