By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor Maggie Fox, Health And Science Editor – Fri Aug 28, 1:36 pm ET

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Doctors are reporting a severe form of swine flu that goes straight to the lungs, causing severe illness in otherwise healthy young people and requiring expensive hospital treatment, the World Health Organization said on Friday.

Some countries are reporting that as many as 15 percent of patients infected with the new H1N1 pandemic virus need hospital care, further straining already overburdened healthcare systems, WHO said in an update on the pandemic.

“During the winter season in the southern hemisphere, several countries have viewed the need for intensive care as the greatest burden on health services,” it said.

“Preparedness measures need to anticipate this increased demand on intensive care units, which could be overwhelmed by a sudden surge in the number of severe cases.”

Earlier, WHO reported that H1N1 had reached epidemic levels in Japan, signaling an early start to what may be a long influenza season this year, and that it was also worsening in tropical regions.

“Perhaps most significantly, clinicians from around the world are reporting a very severe form of disease, also in young and otherwise healthy people, which is rarely seen during seasonal influenza infections,” WHO said.

“In these patients, the virus directly infects the lung, causing severe respiratory failure. Saving these lives depends on highly specialized and demanding care in intensive care units, usually with long and costly stays.”



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•  Nicaragua reactivates health emergency plan on A/H1N1 (Link)

Papua New Guinea
•  41 Dead, Papua New Guinea – Mysterious Disease  (Link)
•  Morobe people dying of mysterious disease (Link)

Saudi Arabia
•  Three Saudi nationals die of H1N1 influenza (Link)

United States
•  News Swine flu: H1N1 flu on rise on college campuses (Link)
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•  3rd H1N1 Death in Nebraska (Link)
•  Swine Flu Rises At US Colleges (Link)
•  Nebraska weekly report from Nebr DHHS (Link)
•  USA TODAY/Gallup Poll (Link)
•  Vicksburg, MS— Healthy 15 yr old dies in clinic (Link)
•  Miss State Univ. has had 279 “probable” cases of H1N1 (Link)
•  MS schools reported outbreaks per district  (Link)
•  Miami U. reports 25 probable swine flu cases (Link)
•  2 Miss. Students’ Deaths Under Investigation for Swine Flu – H1N1 (Link)
•  CA: First swine flu fatality for Mendocino County (Link)
•  TX: Virus found in Del Rio elementary school student (Link)
•  FL: Students at 3 Palm Beach County schools stricken with swine flu (Link)
•  AL: Tuscaloosa ER Very Busy (Link)
•  TN: Child dies of swine flu at Chattanooga hospital (Link)
•  Flu hits Colorado U-Boulder hard, fast (Link)  
•  Where Will You Get Your Vaccine(Link)
•  WSU Influenza A cases might be swine flu (Link)
•  Indiana: Western combats high illness rate (Link)
•  Swine flu confirmed at another Southeast Missouri school district (Link)
•  AL: H1N1 Virus Keeps Students Out of Class  (Link)
•  KY: H1N1 Virus Reported in Franklin County Schools (Link)
•  Miss: Football Game Postponed Due to Flu (Link)
•  IN: Butler student tests positive for H1N1 (Link)
•  North Georgia responds to flu outbreaks (Link)
•  H1N1 flu cases at ISU, East Marshall school district (Link)
•  LA: Possible swine flu at youth prison (Link)
•  OK: Schools Announces Three Possible H1N1 Cases (Link)
•  University of Illinois has more than a dozen cases (Link)

•  WHO: Preparing for the second wave: lessons from current outbreaks – Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 briefing note 9 (Link)
•  Nurses upset at policy of reusing masks for swine flu protection (Link)
•  WHO: H1N1 down in Southern Hemisphere (Link)
•  Clinical and Epidemiologic Characteristics of 3 Early Cases of Influenza A Pandemic (H1N1) 2009 Virus Infection, People’s Republic of China, 2009 (Link)