Posted by Neharika Sabharwal on May 07, 2009

According to U.S. health officials, the average age of confirmed swine flu deaths in U.S. is 15, while the official figures from Mexico reveal that almost half of the 42 confirmed swine flu deaths were of people 29 or less.

"In seasonal flu, you tend to see a predominance of burden to the elderly and the very young. Here we are seeing it more in the younger population," said Dr. Richard Besser, acting director of the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in a press conference Wednesday. "That is something we are keeping our eye on. That is something that raises concerns."

Possible explanations
Pondering on why young people have witnessed a severe backlash of the disease, health experts reflect that perhaps they have been exposed to the contagious disease on trips to Mexico, which was the epicenter of the virus. According to sources, a large number of Americans suffering from the influenza had visited the country before falling sick.

Another possibility could be that older people are less vulnerable to the disease, having weathered similar strains of the virus - known as influenza A, subtype H1N1.

"It could be that there is cross protection from previous H1N1 infections," said David Lewis, an infectious disease specialist with Stanford University School of Medicine. "That's certainly testable, and we should know that soon enough."

Update on the virus
Health authorities monitoring the flu declared that there is no reason to think the virus is lethal, stating it to be no more harmful than the average seasonal flu. The federal scientists disclosed that the genetic makeup of swine flu’s germs lacks the traits seen in the deadly 1918 flu pandemic strain and the dangerous bird flu.

After scrutinizing the disease and concluding that the outbreak was showing no indication of spreading beyond a few pockets, or posing a threat, most of the schools were allowed to reopen on Wednesday.

School authorities were relieved to get the "all clear" and reopened campuses. Almost everyone inflicted with the influenza is on the road to recovery or already well. However, attendance was low primarily because many were unaware that school had resumed while some parents are exercising caution until the virus completely recedes.

Both teachers and administrators are watchful in sending children home if they start exhibiting symptoms of the flu.

Latest update in the States
The confirmed sick count is 50 in New York; 28 in Texas; 13 in California; 16 in South Carolina; five in New Jersey; four each in Arizona and Delaware; three each in Indiana and Illinois; two each in Kansas, Colorado, Massachusetts, Virginia and Michigan; and one each in Ohio, Kentucky, Minnesota, Nebraska and Nevada.

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