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H1N1 cases already overtake BC pandemic plan forecast

British Columbians with serious H1N1 symptoms are being admitted to intensive care units in greater proportions than the province's pandemic plan anticipated.

In a confidental report leaked earlier this month, the plan anticipated that 15 percent of hospitalized H1N1 patients would require ICU care.

As well, the plan forecast 7.5 percent of hospitalized flu patients would require ventilation.

But in the October 26 Surveillance Update issued by the B.C. Centre for Disease Control, 26 percent of hospitalized flu patients have been admitted to ICU.

Moreover, 18 percent have needed ventilation.

The plan predicted a shortage of ventilators, saying "there may be 127 ventilators available." So far only 36 patients have required ventilation, so the resources are still more than adequate.

However, H1N1 hospitalizations could increase rapidly in coming weeks, especially if a third of all British Columbians are infected as the plan anticipates.

The latest surveillance report also found that 27 percent of hospitalized patients had no underlying health condition. Twelve patients, 6 percent of those hospitalized, have died.

Crawford Kilian is a contributing editor of The Tyee.

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