The H1N1 virus will kill eight to 10 people in the Vancouver Coastal Health region this fall, the area’s chief medical health officer told Vancouver city council yesterday.

The number is considerably less than the hundreds of people expected to die from typical seasonal flu, which kills 4,500 Canadians every year.

Dr. Patricia Daly said the small number of projected deaths, which is based on extrapolated data from Australia, is because people 60 years and older are less susceptible to the virus.

“Because young people are more susceptible,” Daly said, “there will be somewhat more hospitalization. But because they are healthier, we are seeing far fewer deaths than seasonal flu.”

The Australian data is also without the benefit of an H1N1 vaccine, she added, which should be available locally by the second week of November.

The greatest impact on health services here could be the increase in hospitalizations. Admission to the intensive-care unit is expected to jump by five to six people per week, because young patients are more likely to survive being put on ventilators.

“It doesn’t sound like very much, but there is not a lot of capacity in our intensive-care units.”

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