Kids and young adults have the highest swine flu rate

Children and younger adults continue to be most affected by the swine flu according to the latest and most solid government health information. The elderly, who had been warned about the virus due to their age and a lower resistance, have been largely unaffected.

On Tuesday, health officials released figures for swine flu hospitalizations and deaths for the seven weeks since the beginning of September. Twenty-eight states provided the information.

It showed more than half of all hospitalizations were people 24 and younger - more than a quarter were ages 5-18.

“Essentially, this is still a young person’s disease,” said Dr. Anne Schuchat of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Swine flu deaths were concentrated in young and middle-aged adults. A third of all deaths were people ages 25 through 49. Another third were 50-64.

Just 12 percent of deaths occurred in the elderly. That’s a stark contrast to the roughly 90 percent of deaths in the elderly from the seasonal flu, Schuchat said at a Tuesday press conference.

“It’s almost completely reversed,” said Schuchat, who heads the CDC’s National Center for Immunization and Respiratory Diseases.

The figures are similar to what the CDC saw in the spring, she said.

Many people 55 and older have some degree of immunity to the swine flu virus, perhaps from exposure decades ago to a similar vaccine.

However, the ability of the swine flu virus to attack deep in the lungs seems to also make it more dangerous to some of the younger people who are infected, CDC officials say.

The most recent figures show about 5,000 hospitalizations in 27 states for lab-confirmed swine flu, and about 300 deaths in 28 states.

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