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Swine flu strikes back in Sweden: 'it's here to stay'

Swine flu strikes back in Sweden: 'it's here to stay'

Published: 08 Feb 2013 16:00 GMT+01:00
Updated: 08 Feb 2013 16:00 GMT+01:00

An estimated 100,000 Swedes are currently sick with the flu, with swine flu responsible for the largest number of cases, having claimed six lives so far this year, health authorities report.

Swine flu has also sent 335 people to hospital, 35 of whom needed intensive care.

Five of the six deaths were people who were already considered to have high health risks and weaker immune systems, but one 35-year-old man who died from the flu in Skaraborg at the end of January was healthy.

Experts say the sickness is now part of the regular cycle of diseases in Sweden and is likely here to stay - even though 66 percent of the population was vaccinated against the disease in 2009.

"Swine flu has become a common type of influenza, it doesn't hit as hard as we feared it would in the beginning, it's just like any other cold," epidemiologist Hélène Englund at the Swedish Institute for Communicable Disease Control (Smittskyddsinstitutet) told the Dagens Nyheter newspaper (DN).

"Now it seems to be a recurring seasonal sickness."

Englund added that besides swine flu, two other main influenza types are currently spreading in Sweden, Influenza B and A(H3).

As the viruses have quite similar symptoms, it is hard for experts to predict when the current wave of illnesses will recede.

The institute recommends good hygiene - especially washing your hands and coughing into your arm - as the best way to protect yourself and others from being infected.

TT/The Local/og

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Your comments about this article

19:43 February 8, 2013 by theobserver
The institute recommends good hygiene--this is important.

I heard that they also recommend that people buy flight tickets to Poland because this is the closest civilized place where you can see a doctor if you are sick.
21:01 February 8, 2013 by johan rebel
So much for the mass hysteria and mass vaccination a couple of years ago. Now all of a sudden "it is just like any other cold".

Ha ha ha ha, to think of all those suckers who stood obediently for hours in line to get their shots, just 'cause the nanny state said so. Bunch of obedient nutcases, bet that half of them caught a cold just waiting for their turn in the freezing weather.
00:16 February 9, 2013 by irridium
I got H1N1 a few years back as did many people I know in the US. Worst flu I can remember, but not life threatening, just really sucked...... Would def. recommend vaccine if you don't want to be out of work for a couple weeks of misery!
17:49 February 9, 2013 by Pand0ra
Interestingly there are contemporneous outbreaks of Swine Flu since the new year in the Balkans, Tunisia and northern India where mortality rates are unusually high for 'seasonal' flu. The WHO avidly monitor H5N1 Bird Flu but clearly lack interest in 'seasonal flu'. They may have forgotten that the 'American' Flu Pandemic of 1918 (Spanish was a misnomer) had a mild first wave and dangerous second wave...

Even if this turns out to be not too bad (fingers crossed) it presents some fascinating conundrums - 2009/10 to 2013 is over three years and vaccine efficacy, variant virus and testing may all be affected. The long expected viral pandemic may be just around the corner - and it could be Saudi SARS of course which may have been superbly disseminated by the pilgrims returning from the 2012 Hajj...
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