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H1N1 hit racial, ethnic minorities hardest

Sept. 29, 2011 at 8:58 PM

ATLANTA, Sept. 29 (UPI) -- The H1N1 pandemic affected racial and ethnic minorities to a greater degree than others in Utah, U.S. health officials said.

Officials monitored influenza-associated hospitalizations since 2005 so they could monitor the H1N1 pandemic, U.S. officials said.

A report, published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report Thursday, said Utah found that 2009 H1N1 influenza caused more severe illness and disproportionately affected racial and ethnic minorities, pregnant women and residents of Salt Lake County -- the most densely populated county in Utah.

"This information enabled public health authorities to confidently disseminate critical information to groups severely affected by 2009 H1N1 influenza and to advise clinicians to consider early antiviral treatment for groups with more severe disease," the report said. "Tracking influenza-associated hospitalizations is a useful system for monitoring influenza epidemics and identifying risk factors for severe disease."

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