TORONTO, July 6 (UPI) -- Warnings that this fall's swine flu season will be severe has prompted the Canadian government to order critical ventilators, officials say.
A spokesman for the Public Health Agency of Canada told Monday's Toronto Globe and Mail the department is "currently in negotiations to purchase additional ventilators to increase its stockpile to 500."
The pandemic has shown that Canadian swine flu victims are younger and sicker than elsewhere, and while the reasons for that are unknown, the government is moving to head off shortages of ventilators when the fall flu season hits, the newspaper said.
Medical experts said the first wave of the H1N1 virus that killed 29 people in Canada and forced the hospitalizations of 663 others exposed a shortage of ventilators for young victims.
"It appears that there is a sub-population of relatively young people who very rapidly develop severe illness with this virus," Allison McGeer, an expert in infectious disease at Mount Sinai Hospital in Toronto, told the Globe and Mail. "And they are not a large number, but they require very intensive ventilatory support with new advanced ventilators."