Interesting Article …

November 12, 2009 waterswife

SALT LAKE CITY — State health administrators say they’re not ready to give the obese priority status to get the swine flu, even though there is early evidence that group may be getting harder hit by the H1N1 strain.

The Salt Lake Valley Health Department says 40 percent of swine flu hospitalizations in the county involved those who were obese. That far outpaces the 23 percent of the population considered obese.

Utah Department of Health epidemiologist Robert Rolfs told KSL Newsradio Thursday some of the returns may be due to related conditions like diabetes, or they may simply be coincidental.

“For example, if a group is being hospitalized more often that happens to be obese, obesity may be coincidentally related and not the cause,” Rolfs said.

Rolfs said there already isn’t enough vaccine. Health workers have received enough vaccine for 6 to 7 percent of the population, and current target groups total 60 percent of the population. He said more research was needed.

“What we have to do is, one, figure out whether it’s the obesity itself or whether it’s these other conditions that occur more often in people who are obese, and then secondly we have to make sure it’s not a coincidence,” Rolfs said.

The Salt Lake Tribune reports doctors at Intermountain Healthcare and the University of Utah expect to publish a study in the next few weeks on Salt Lake County hospitalized H1N1 patients.

Russell Miller III, head of the respiratory Intensive Care Unit at Intermountain Medical Center, is working on the study but preliminarily says he sees more obese people who get critically ill.

This summer, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention rejected obesity as an independent risk factor for swine flu.

——

Story compiled with contributions from Andrew Adams and The Salt Lake Tribune.

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Entry Filed under: iN tHe nEws, NaBloPoMo

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