H1N1 Flu Exerts Higher Toll Among California’s Minority Communities
Black andÂ Hispanic Californians are more likely to be hospitalized or die as a result of H1N1 influenza compared with the state's white population, according to new data from the California Department of Public Health, the Los Angeles Times reports.
The data found that:
- Blacks are about three times more likely than whites to be hospitalized with the H1N1 virus, also known as swine flu; and
- Hispanics are about two times more likely to be hospitalized with H1N1.
The data also found that:
- Blacks are about 50% more likely to die from H1N1 compared with whites; and
- Hispanics are nearly twice as likely to die from the virus.
Although Asians were more likely than whites to be hospitalized with H1N1, they were less likely to die from the virus, the data found.
Explanations for Disparities
Gilberto Chavez, an epidemiologist at the California Department of Public Health, said blacks and Hispanics might have higher rates of H1N1 hospitalization and mortality because they tend to have higher rates of chronic health conditions and poorer access to health care compared with other populations.
He added that the state is gathering data to examine a possible relationship between H1N1 vaccination rates and hospitalization or death rates among different ethnic communities (Hennessy-Fiske, Los Angeles Times, 1/15).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.