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Australia: Swine Flu Puts ICUs on Verge of Collapse

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H5N1: Australia: Swine flu put ICUs on verge of collapse

Reading the full article, you will find that most people admitted to those ICUs were young, and a quarter of them were obese. Pregnancy was a risk factor. Seven babies died as well in that part of the world. And, swine flu is not the most virulent influenza virus out there...

Associate Professor Steve Webb from the Royal Perth Hospital hopes lessons learnt in 2009, together with vaccination, will help prevent a repeat scenario this year.

His team recently investigated swine flu admissions to all 187 ICUs in Australia and New Zealand last year.

"ICUs were on the point of collapse, which was unprecedented," he said. "The ICU system in every region in Australia came close to collapse and we've learnt a great deal from that and will be better prepared to manage ICU [surges] this year.

"One Sydney doctor said that in one week during last year's flu season, his ICU saw more people with severe acute respiratory distress than in any other week of his 30-year career in intensive care ... there was a massive wave of very sick people."

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