Getting treatment quickly was key to avoiding life-threatening illness, CDC study found
TUESDAY, April 20 (HealthDay News) -- Although pregnant women make up about 1 percent of the U.S. population at any given time, during the 2009 H1N1 swine flu outbreak they made up 5 percent of deaths, a new study has found.
Researchers also found that pregnant women who waited four days before seeking treatment were admitted to the intensive care unit (ICU) nearly 57 percent of the time, compared to only about 9 percent for pregnant women who didn't delay seeking treatment.
The H1N1-linked death rate among pregnant women was "more than we would have expected," said one of the study's authors, Dr. Sonja Rasmussen, a medical officer with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. "We also learned that early treatment with anti-viral medications lowers the chances of being admitted to the ICU, and lowers the chances of death."
Results of the study were published in the April 21 issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
H1N1 flu was first reported in the United States on April 21, 2009, by officials at the CDC. Two children in California had been infected with the new virus. The virus rapidly spread worldwide and was declared a pandemic in June, according to background information in the study.
Because pregnant women tend to be more vulnerable in any flu outbreak, the CDC asked local and state health departments to report any confirmed or probably case of H1N1 in a pregnant woman from April 2009 through Dec. 31, 2009.
They received reports on 788 pregnant women with H1N1 symptoms during that time period. Thirty of the women died from complications of H1N1, which represents 5 percent of all H1N1 deaths, according to the study.
In total, 509 of the women were hospitalized, and of those, 115 were admitted to the intensive care unit.
The study found t
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