So far, the 2009 swine flu (H1N1) pandemic has been more widespread than lethal, notes the Harvard Health Letter. The novel H1N1 virus has some properties that seem to make it less capable of causing serious disease than had been expected.
At least early in the flu season, in the relatively rare instances when H1N1 has caused complications that result in hospitalization (and even more rarely, death), the people most likely to be affected have been young, especially school-age children, whereas older people seem relatively protected, reports the Harvard Health Letter.
The pattern for regular "seasonal" flu virus that circulates every winter is just the opposite: it's the old who are far more vulnerable to complications, which typically involve a secondary bacterial infection that causes pneumonia.
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