Obesity is increasing rapidly around the world. Obese people are about getting infected with the influenza A/H1N1pdm virus that means a lot more infections.

Being obese or overweight can put you at risk for several severe health conditions that include cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and even cancers. That extra weight also makes you prone to the swine flu virus, called influenza A/H1N1pdm, a new study published in the journal Clinical Infectious Diseases.

The world is currently fighting against COVID-19 but some experts showed the possibility of another swine flu pandemic. If obese people can easily get infected with the influenza virus that means the number of infections may increase swiftly.

The first author Hannah Maier, a postdoctoral fellow at the University Of Michigan School Of Public Health says, “This research is important because obesity around the whole world is increasing rapidly. It’s approximately tripled since the ’70s,” and she adds, “We’re having a lot more obesity, right now we’re dealing with the pandemic, and it was just announced that there might be another potential swine flu pandemic. If obesity is associated with increased risk and there’s a lot more obesity, that could mean a lot more infections.”

Maier and other associates analyzed the data of more than 1,500 individuals in 330 households who participated in the Nicaraguan Household Transmission Study. It is an ongoing community-based study tracking the health of a community in Managua, Nicaragua. People who enrolled were observed for 10-15 days and provided swab tests and blood tests to confirm infection. A new study discovered that adults with obesity had twice the odds of symptomatic H1N1 infection compared to those without obesity.

Swine Flu Infection- H1N1pdm

Obesity can reduce wound healing and lead to difficulties in breathing and can increase oxygen requirements. A strain of flu was attacking pigs, the same flu jumped to humans in 2009. This virus is called H1N1pdm and has infected many people around the world.

A study found that the new strain of swine flu in China has the potential to be a pandemic and it can jump from pigs to humans. It is necessary to control the swine flu infection.

A senior author Aubree Gordon, an epidemiologist at U-M’s School of Public Health highlighted the importance of this kind of study even when we are facing the COVID-19 pandemic.

“This underscores that although we are in the middle of a pandemic, we cannot stop being vigilant for the emergence of other viruses, particularly influenza,” she said. “In addition, this highlights that the U.S. needs to participate in the World Health Organization. The WHO influenza program provides a critical service to the world monitoring influenza circulation to make vaccine strain recommendations and surveilling for the potential emergence of new influenza viruses.”

This new study is published in the Journal of Clinical Infectious Diseases. It was funded by the National Institute for Allergy and Infectious Disease.