"Perhaps most significantly, clinicians from around the world are reporting a very severe form of disease, also in young and otherwise healthy people, which is rarely seen during seasonal influenza infections," WHO said.
"In these patients, the virus directly infects the lung, causing severe respiratory failure. Saving these lives depends on highly specialized and demanding care in intensive care units, usually with long and costly stays."
MINORITIES AT RISK
Minority groups and indigenous populations may also have a higher risk of being severely ill with H1N1.
"In some studies, the risk in these groups is four to five times higher than in the general population," WHO said.
"Although the reasons are not fully understood, possible explanations include lower standards of living and poor overall health status, including a high prevalence of conditions such as asthma, diabetes and hypertension." ...
"When anticipating the impact of the pandemic as more people become infected, health officials need to be aware that many of these predisposing conditions have become much more widespread in recent decades, thus increasing the pool of vulnerable people."
WHO estimates that more than 230 million people globally have asthma, and more than 220 million have diabetes. Obesity may also worsen the risk of severe infection, WHO said.
The good news -- people infected with AIDS virus do not seem to be at special risk from H1N1, WHO said. ... http://www.nytimes.com/reuters/2009/08/28/world/international-uk-flu-pandemic.html