French experts say not all swine flu cases are presenting severe symptoms. There could be some with high fever and muscle cramps and others with symptoms that are hardly noticeable.

According to a study released this week, the so-called “asymptomatic” cases, which can be easily mistaken for the common cold, are making infection rates in France go sky high.

The results suggest the same could apply to all the regions in the world where the newly-emerged virus has struck.

Lamballerie and colleagues analyzed data collected from blood samples given by more than 1,000 women getting regular check-ups during the first trimester of pregnancy.

The samples were collected over a two week period across the country and Traces of the swine flu antibodies showed up in more than 10 percent of the women. It was not known how many had had severe flu symptoms.


This figure is five times the number of patients of the same age who consulted a doctor with major flu symptoms over the three-month period up to the end of November, suggesting that four-in-five cases went unreported or — more likely — did not erupt into a severe influenza.


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