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Peak nears for Sweden's swine flu outbreak

Published: 11 Sep 2009 08:30 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Sep 2009 08:30 GMT+02:00

“It will probably be a relatively short time before we started to see the first high,” said state epidemiologist Annika Linde of the Swedish Institute for Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet) to the TT news agency.

If Sweden follows the pattern of New Zealand, a country with a similar population density, the epidemic will reach its peak within two to three weeks.

The high will most likely be reached first in large urban regions as those are the areas where the infection is most common today.

The projection would mean that the outbreak won’t be as serious as originally feared earlier in the summer, when Swedish health authorities forecast that one in three Swedes would be infected with the swine flu.

In New Zealand, around 10 percent of the population was hit by the first pandemic wave, according to estimates, and that was without any vaccination programme in place.

“It’s much lower than what we had thought,” said Linde, adding however that society must be prepared for the pandemic to return, most likely in the spring of 2010.

Based on numbers from New Zealand, around 35 Swedes are projected to die from the swine flu, with around 90 needing intensive care.

“It’s like predicting the weather – they can get it wrong! But as it looks now, we’re expecting a very small peak with young adults being hit the hardest,” said Linde.

Older people have better immunity against the A/H1N1 virus because similar viruses have circulated earlier.

TT/The Local (news@thelocal.se)

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Your comments about this article

13:55 September 11, 2009 by Social Hypocrisy
Not as bad as we thought... but watch out for spring 2010.

Sounds like they are just trying to keep us scared and in place.
14:08 September 11, 2009 by Sebastian_R
Seriously, what's up with Sweden? What worked in the US (the terror craze a few years ago) now seem to work well in Sweden.

Swine Flu is pretty harmless in comparison to many other things and while we all thought it might be bad in the beginning, things have changed. I don't know of a single country creating as much panic around the Swine Flu as Sweden does. Guys, relax, take it easy. It's NOT the end of the world...
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