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Second strain of flu may complicate picture-study 06 May 2009 15:02:09 GMT

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posted on May, 6 2009 @ 12:42 PM
Second strain of flu may complicate picture-study 06 May 2009 15:02:09 GMT
Source: Reuters
* Mutations seen in seasonal flu strain

* May have caused Canadian late-season outbreak

* May complicate picture in Mexico

By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor

WASHINGTON, May 6 (Reuters) - A second strain of influenza, one of the seasonal strains, may have mutated and may be complicating the picture in Mexico, Canadian researchers reported on Wednesday.

They have found a strain of the H3N2 virus that appears to have made a shift and could have complicated the flu picture in Mexico, epicenter of an outbreak of a new strain of the H1N1 swine flu virus.

One was seen in a traveler returning from Mexico, the team at the British Columbia Centre for Disease Control reported to Pro-MED, an online forum for infectious disease experts. And it may have been involved in an unusually late outbreak of flu in long-term care facilities this year.

The new H1N1 virus has killed at least 42 people in Mexico and two in the United States, has spread globally and brought the world to the brink of a pandemic. It appears to act like seasonal flu but doctors have been confused because it has also killed some young and apparently healthy adults -- not the usual pattern for influenza, which picks off the elderly, chronically ill and very young.

Danuta Skowronski and colleagues said they routinely sequence the hemagglutinin gene from a sample of influenza viruses submitted each season by community doctors, hospitals and care facilities across the province of British Columbia, Canada. Hemagglutinin gives a flu virus the "H" in its name, as in H1N1 or H3N2, and is found on the surface of the virus.

Vaccines target hemagglutinin and when it changes, the vaccine must be changed, too. This year the vaccine targets strains of H3N2 influenza, an H1N1 strain different from the new swine flu strain, and an influenza B strain.

"Until mid-February 2009, amino acid sequences of the hemagglutinin gene of H3 viruses in British Columbia were virtually identical to the vaccine strain," Skowronski wrote.

"In early March 2009, however, we detected additional differences from the vaccine strain among British Columbia viruses collected from facility outbreak settings." They only found these changes in flu samples taken from patients in care facilities.

When news broke of the new H1N1 strain, they ran more tests.

"We have sequenced the hemagglutinin gene of one of the H3 viruses from an ill traveler returning from Mexico and find it shares the same ... changes," they wrote.

"In British Columbia, these H3 mutations arose sometime in early March 2009 and we observe at least one returning traveler to have likely acquired illness due to this virus in Mexico," they wrote.

"We thus also wonder to what extent the profile of influenza-like illness initially reported from mid-March in Mexico may in part be attributed to this H3N2 variant in addition to emergence of the novel A/H1N1 virus."

posted on May, 6 2009 @ 12:44 PM
So, do you think this is over, or more mutations are expected as my other threads see as the potential to this outbreak?

If there are more mutations, will you prevent what you can and take care of yourself and your family?

posted on May, 6 2009 @ 12:49 PM
WRAPUP 7 New flu kills 2nd person in US, spreads globally 06 May 2009 03:09:04 GMT
Source: Reuters
(For full coverage of the flu outbreak, click [nFLU])

*Cases spread globally and more deaths expected

*WHO on alert for full pandemic

*29 deaths confirmed in Mexico

*Trade wars over pork continue (Adds details on deaths in Mexico paragraph 3, vaccine efforts paragraph 18)

By Chris Baltimore

HOUSTON, May 5 (Reuters) - A Texas woman with the new H1N1 flu died earlier this week, state health officials said on Tuesday, the second death outside of Mexico, where the epidemic appeared to be waning.

Officials said the woman, who was in her 30s, had other health problems. U.S. health officials have predicted that the swine flu virus would spread and inevitably kill some people, just as seasonal flu does.

Last week a Mexican toddler visiting Texas also died. Mexican officials have reported 29 confirmed deaths.

The World Health Organization was monitoring the spread of the virus and said 21 countries have officially reported 1,490 cases. The United States has 403 confirmed cases in 38 states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, with another 700 "probable" cases. Canada has reported 165 cases.

"Those numbers will go up, we anticipate, and unfortunately there are likely to be more hospitalizations and more deaths," U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said.

Health officials said the outbreak seemed to be slowing in Mexico, the country hardest-hit by the virus, which is a mixture of swine viruses and some elements of human and bird flu. At the same time, infections were breaking out globally and are expected to spread.

Trade skirmishes over pork worsened, with some countries imposing new restrictions, despite assurances by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization that pork, especially cooked pork, was safe to eat.


The question remained how far the virus would spread and how serious would it be. The WHO remained at pandemic alert level 5, meaning a pandemic is imminent.

"If it spreads around the world you will see hundreds of millions of people get infected," the WHO's Dr. Keiji Fukuda told a news briefing.

If it continues to spread outside the Americas, the WHO would likely move to phase 6, a full pandemic alert. This would prompt countries to activate pandemic plans, distribute antiviral drugs and antibiotics and perhaps advise people to take other precautions like limiting large gatherings.

"It's not so much the number of countries, but whether the virus sets up shop in any of those countries like it has here and starts to spread person to person. And given the number of countries that have cases, one would think that eventually that criteria would be met," said acting CDC director Dr. Richard Besser.

He and Fukuda said it would be important to watch the Southern Hemisphere, where winter and the flu season are just beginning. [nT184398]

Other pandemics have started with a mild new virus in spring that has come back to cause severe disease later in the year. WHO said it would begin sending 2.4 million treatment courses of Roche AG's and Gilead Sciences Inc's Tamiflu, an antiviral proven effective against the new flu, to 72 nations, including Mexico.

Fukuda said the WHO was still trying to answer the most pressing questions, including why more people have died in Mexico than anywhere else.

"More people have had mild illness than have had severe illness," Fukuda said. "The reasons for that are not clear. I don't think it reflects differences in treatment."

Most of those who have become ill with the new flu, including in Mexico, have recovered with little or no treatment.

Read the full article here:

[edit on 6/5/2009 by Mexican against NAU]

posted on May, 6 2009 @ 12:56 PM
Don't forget to use external tags for quotes/articles from news sources. It makes it easier to read. Thanks

posted on May, 6 2009 @ 12:58 PM
Don´t know how to use them

I´ll find the info on how to do it and get it done next time.

posted on May, 6 2009 @ 01:12 PM

Other pandemics have started with a mild new virus in spring that has come back to cause severe disease later in the year.

posted on May, 9 2009 @ 03:36 AM
reply to post by Mexican against NAU

I found this article, dated, 18 March, which explains that this year, virologists, clinicians, etc., should be prepared for a new upswing in influeza deaths, due to new strains. H1N1 doesn't seem to be mentioned. As I recall (and please correct me if I am mistaken) this was the week Obama was in Mexico. The week the "swine flu" erupted. I'm uncertain how to analyze this, as I have no info as to who funded the study, but it seems that there are more and more glaring examples of some kind of fore-knowledge of a pnademic event.
If anyone has info on this, please share, correct, etc.

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