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Lifestyle > Health > 2009 A/H1N1 Flu outbreak

Epidemiologist: Men three times more vulnerable to A/H1N1 flu

2009-04-29 11:38:54 GMT2009-04-29 19:38:54 (Beijing Time)  Xinhua English

MEXICO CITY, April 28 (Xinhua) -- Men are three times more likely than women to suffer serious complications from the new strain of A/H1N1 flu that has probably killed 159 people and sickened more than 2,400 more in Mexico, an epidemiologist told Xinhua on Tuesday.

Both men and women have caught the disease but the most serious cases have involved males, Anjarath Higuera of the National Respiratory Illnesses Institute told Xinhua in a telephone interview.

"Men represent around 75 percent and women around 25 percent of those with major difficulties," she said.

The World Health Organization has confirmed 105 cases in seven countries. More than half of those cases are in the United States but Mexico is the only country where deaths have been confirmed.

Higuera said there have been a lot of bus drivers and teachers among the sick in Mexico because they work with the public in closed space.

"The measures have been effective," she said, restating widely published advice to wash hands frequently, wear facemasks, seek treatment early and avoid large crowds.

Eating with dirty hands, Higuera said, is an easy way to catch the disease. Sharing food or utensils or using an infected person's cell phone should be avoided, she said.

"After a sneeze or a cough the virus lasts only a few seconds in the air, then it lasts up to four hours after landing on a surface," she said, adding that the virus is transmitted "if a person touches that surface and conveys it to their eyes, nose or mouth."

Higuera said children are more likely than adults to have less aggressive flu symptoms, which include a sharp rise in body temperature, breathing problems, muscular pain and headaches.

"Children are the quickest to recover because they are the most likely to be vaccinated," she said.

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