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Majority of swine flu victims predisposed to illness


NEW YORK A preliminary analysis of 152 hospitalized patients due to H1N1 influenza found that at least 82% have belonged to one or more groups at higher risk of severe illness or complications from traditional influenza, such as seniors, the very young and those with upper respiratory diseases, the New York City Department of Health and Mental Hygiene announced Wednesday.

So far, the most common risk factor in New York City has been asthma – an underlying risk factor among 41% of the New Yorkers hospitalized for H1N1 flu. Other important risk factors included being less than 2 years of age (18% of hospitalized patients), having a compromised immune system (13%), having heart disease (12%) or being pregnant.

The New York City Health Department also linked two more deaths to H1N1 influenza on Wednesday. The latest fatalities – both in adults in their early and mid 40s – bring the total number of deaths in New York to seven.

Emergency room visits have declined somewhat after spiking dramatically during the third week of May, the agency reported. More than 300 New Yorkers have been hospitalized with H1N1 flu since late April.

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