Swine Flu More Likely to Cause Pneumonia

WHO urges doctors to treat suspected cases with antiviral meds
By Kevin Spak,  Newser Staff
Posted Oct 16, 2009 3:52 PM CDT
Swine Flu More Likely to Cause Pneumonia
People wearing surgical masks enter the General Hospital in Mexico City in this file photo.   (AP Photo/Dario Lopez-Mills, File)

Swine flu is much more likely than seasonal flu to cause potentially life-threatening viral pneumonia, the World Health Organization said today, urging doctors to immediately treat even young and otherwise healthy suspected H1N1 cases with antiviral meds. “It’s not like seasonal influenza,” said a WHO officer. It travels farther into the lungs, where it can “cause very severe disease.”

Though a few cases of swine flu resistant to antiviral drugs have been reported, the meds have so far proven a highly effective if administered early. “Do not delay treatment,” the WHO officer warned. “Do not miss this opportunity.” The WHO warning came on the heels of a US announcement that 41 states have now reported widespread outbreaks, with pockets of the disease sprouting up elsewhere. (More swine flu stories.)

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