H1N1 Virus hits Aboriginal Communities Harder due to Younger Population

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According to Audrey Lawrence, the director of the Aboriginal Nurses Association, the H1N1 virus, also know as swine flu, has been hitting Aboriginal communities harder as the virus tends to affect the youth more severely.

As over 50% of Canada’s Aboriginal population is under 25, there are higher rates of the virus in Aboriginal communities.

Lawrence told the CBC that “this is what’s so different about this H1N1 flu is that it’s disproportionately targeting or seems to be affecting younger people, much more so than traditional flus where the severity of impact is more on the very, very young and the very old.”

Over 10,000 cases of H1N1 have been confirmed across Canada with 390 alone in Nunavut. In Manitoba, the infection level among Aboriginals is at 135 per 100,000 people versus 6.1 cases per 100,000 for the province, according to the Assembly of First Nations.

Lawrence also told the CBC that she is particularly concerned about the outbreak of the pandemic as there is a nursing shortage in Canada, particularly in Native communities.

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