H1N1 symptoms invisible in many kids with infection


Fresh research carried out by Indian medical scientists shows that only about 10 per cent of the infected children come up with symptoms.

“Almost 90 per cent of positive cases among children are asymptomatic,” said V M Katoch, director general of Indian Council of Medical Research.

Conducted on about 500 children aged below 14 years, the ICMR research indicates that though almost 50 per cent of children screened for H1N1 tested positive, only 10 per cent of them showed H1N1 symptoms.

Katoch was not willing to divulge much as the research has not yet been published in any peer reviewed medical journals. “We have taken the background immunity of our population into account while calculating the attack and infection rates,” he said.

Officials are somewhat surprised by this H1N1 strain as seasonal flu typically affects senior citizens more.

“This is a strange virus which affects the younger generation. Lot of panic has been created because of its spread among school children,” said Union health secretary Naresh Dayal.

Till August 6, 615 people were detected positive, out of which 129 were children between 10-14 years and 100 were between 15 and 19 years.

There were also 117 cases of people in the age bracket of 20-29 years till Thursday.
Schools provide the perfect setting for the virus to spread, Dayal said, adding that those on the other extremes in age – people above 65 – are also equally at risk. The risk group includes pregnant women and those with chronic diseases.

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