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Study: Quick swine flu treatment saved pregnant women

ATLANTA - Quick treatment with flu medicine saved the lives of many pregnant women who were stricken by swine flu last year, according to the most complete analysis of deaths among expectant mothers.

The study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention counted 56 pregnant women who died from the new virus in 2009, confirming the dangers of the disease to this group.

Based primarily on U.S. data from the first few months of the global epidemic, which began last April, CDC officials believe that though pregnant women account for just 1 percent of the population, they have at times accounted for as many as 5 percent of swine flu deaths.

The analysis found that only one of the U.S. women who died was treated with flu medicine like Tamiflu within the first two days of symptoms; just four of those who died got treatment within the first four days.

"Early treatment really makes a difference," said Dr. Sonja Rasmussen of the CDC, one of the study's authors.

The report appears in today's Journal of the American Medical Association.

- AP

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