Swine flu spread was much wider than first thought, scientists say

June 8, 2011

The swine flu outbreak of winter 2009-2010 was much more widespread than was previously realised, research suggests.

Blood samples taken from Scottish adults in March last year at the end of the H1N1 showed that almost half were carrying antibodies to the virus.

Most of the 44 per cent who tested positive had contracted , although some had acquired immunity from a previous bout of flu, or had been vaccinated.

The research, led by the University of Edinburgh, shows that many cases of swine flu went unreported. Only 100,000 people consulted their GP regarding flu, out of about two million who are believed to have contracted the virus.

People living in the most deprived areas were twice as likely to have contracted the virus. Scientists add that it is possible that many people who were vaccinated against the virus were already immune.

Almost 1600 adults from the east of Scotland and Glasgow, who are participants in the Generation Scotland Scottish Family Health Study voluntary health scheme, took part.

The research, carried out in collaboration with the University of Strathclyde, Health Protection Scotland and West of Scotland Specialist Virology Centre, was funded by the Chief Scientist Office and published in the journal .

Professor Mark Woolhouse of the University of Edinburgh's Centre for Infectious Diseases, who led the study, said: "This flu spread very quickly. Fortunately most cases were mild but this also means that they weren't reported. Testing for antibodies to flu could be invaluable in tracking future and targeting vaccination to those groups who most need it."

Related Stories

Recommended for you

Zika virus infection alters human and viral RNA

October 20, 2016

Researchers at University of California San Diego School of Medicine have discovered that Zika virus infection leads to modifications of both viral and human genetic material. These modifications—chemical tags known as ...

Food-poisoning bacteria may be behind Crohn's disease

October 19, 2016

People who retain a particular bacterium in their gut after a bout of food poisoning may be at an increased risk of developing Crohn's disease later in life, according to a new study led by researchers at McMaster University.

Neurodevelopmental model of Zika may provide rapid answers

October 19, 2016

A newly published study from researchers working in collaboration with the Regenerative Bioscience Center at the University of Georgia demonstrates fetal death and brain damage in early chick embryos similar to microcephaly—a ...

Scientists uncover new facets of Zika-related birth defects

October 17, 2016

In a study that could one day help eliminate the tragic birth defects caused by Zika virus, scientists from the Florida campus of The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI) have elucidated how the virus attacks the brains of newborns, ...

1 comment

Adjust slider to filter visible comments by rank

Display comments: newest first

1 / 5 (1) Jun 09, 2011
Impossible. According to my Conservative friends, swine flue was a myth crated by the Vaccine producers and the U.N. to suck as much money from the American People as possible.

Swine Flue according to them, was a complete hoax... Like Evolution, and the story that no WMD were found in Iraq.

WMD were found, the "Liberevil" media are just covering it up.
Or so they maintain.

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.