British health experts have claimed that the swine flu pandemic, which killed over 3,000 people worldwide, is “considerably less lethal” than feared.

Chief Medical Officer for England Sir Liam Donaldson, who led the study, published in the British Medical Journal, said, “The first influenza pandemic of the 21st century is considerably less lethal than was feared in advance.”

About one per cent of England’s population has had swine flu, of which 0.026 per cent died, the research found.

Sir Donaldson said, “A lower impact than feared was, however, not justification for inaction. It was right to vaccinate people at risk — such as those with asthma, diabetes, heart disease and pregnant women — and to extend the programme.”

“Viewed statistically, mortality in this pandemic compares favourably with 20th century influenza pandemics,” he was quoted as saying by The Telegraph.

Comparing the pandemic with previous ones, he said: “Improvements in nutritional status, housing and healthcare availability might explain some of the apparent decrease in case fatality from one pandemic to the next.”

More In: International | News