Robert 'Boo' Maddox, 7, Home From Hospital After 480-Day Battle With H1N1

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"Experts looked at the behavior of the various viruses and made their best judgment that the same strains are going to be out there next year," Schaffner said. "But that doesn't mean influenza can't surprise us."

Schaffner said Boo's 480-day flu battle is rare for a child.

"The situation usually gets resolved much, much earlier, either for the better or, unfortunately, the illness becomes grave in the root sense of that word and the patient dies," he said

Only a few other children were admitted to the New Orleans Children's Hospital for H1N1, Price said. Most were given Tamiflu -- a drug that can prevent the virus from spreading throughout the body -- and sent home.

"We're thrilled that Boo is going home after almost 500 days," Price said. "He's missed out on a lot of the activities that a 5, 6, 7-year-old kid does. The idea that he can go home and be a normal kid again is great."

But Boo will still needs to come in for dialysis three times a week because of kidney damage. And if his kidneys don't recover, he'll be on dialysis for life without a transplant.

"He's not completely out of the woods yet," Price said. "The doctors are monitoring him closely."

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