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The lungs of people who have died from swine flu look more like those of the victims of H5N1 avian influenza than those of people who succumb to regular flu, the chief of infectious diseases pathology at the U.S. Centers for Disease Control says.
Study of about 70 fatal H1N1 cases so far also reveals there may be more incidences of co-infections with bacteria than was earlier thought, Dr. Sherif Zaki told The Canadian Press in an interview.
The damage to lung tissue is consistent with that inflicted by ARDS or acute respiratory distress symptom, Zaki says, referring to an often-fatal, difficult-to-treat syndrome that can have a number of causes. The U.S. National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute estimates about 30 per cent of people who develop ARDS die.
"In terms of the disease, yes, it (H1N1) is remarkably different than seasonal flu," Zaki says. "The pathology looks very similar to H5(N1)."
Strikingly high levels of virus were spotted in the lungs of people who died rapidly from swine flu, he says, though less is seen in those who die after a longer battle with the virus.
"Some people die very quickly of it, within days. And some have more protracted illness, maybe two, three weeks," he says.
"It's surprising the amounts (of virus) that you see.... But it's not unheard of," he adds, pointing to what was seen with SARS.
Earlier studies conducted in tissue culture and in ferrets - the best animal model for human flu - found the new virus is drawn to tissue found deep in the lung. That's a penchant it shares with H5N1. Seasonal flu viruses attack the upper airways.
A 35 year-old Italian tourist is one of three people believed to have been infected with A(H1N1) virus, or swine flu, as well as the H5N1 virus, known as avian flu. The patients are recovering in the Egyptian Red Sea resort of Hurghada, said Mohammed Rifai, director general of preventive medicine.
Rifai also spoke of a 28-year-old man who tested positive for both viruses, after arriving at the port of Safaga after a pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia.
"We are waiting the results of the tests that have already been carried out in some patients suspected of having been infected by the H5N1 and the A(H1N1)," said World Health Organisation spokesman Gregory Hartl in an interview with Adnkronos Salute.
The above comments raise concerns of co-infections of pandemic H1N1 and H5N1, as well as human to human co-transmission. This development would create serious pandemic concerns.
The ability of the pandemic H1N1 to infected multiple species has been demonstrated by the widespread outbreaks in swine. Outbreaks in Canada have been reported in three provinces (Alberta, Quebec, and Manitoba) as well as two locations in Argentina near Buenos Aires, as well as three locations in Australia, These swine infections demonstrate the ease of transmission from humans to swine, as well as swine to swine. Recent results in Chile also demonstrated transmission to turkeys, raising concerns that H1N1 could be silently transmitting to multiple mammalian and avian species.
The jump to avian raised concerns that the H1N1 could interact with H5N1, which is predominantly found in birds, including long range migratory birds. Recent data also demonstrated H5N1 in pikas at Qinghai Lake, which is a mammalian reservoir.
Results from Egypt also raised concerns of co-infections because of the large number of mild H5N1 cases and the concentration in children. The heavy concentration in children raised concerns of silent spread of H5N1 in adults, providing opportunities for co-infection, which could lead to the H1N1 "rescuing" H5N1 leading to co-transmissions.
The presence of both viruses in multiple individuals identified over a brief time period suggests the viruses are efficiently co-transmitting, which creates serious concerns due to co-infections, or exchanges of genetic information via reassortment or recombination. Mammalian polymorphisms have been noted in prior H5N1 isolates, and pandemic H1N1 has H5N1 polymorphisms, indicating exchanges via recombination have happened previously.
However- co-infection and co-transmission would significantly increase the frequency and efficiency of recombination, which would be serious cause for concerns.
Hello Jeff - As I said on your program over two years ago, the next great flu pandemic would be a mixture/combination of H5N1 and H1N1. Well, the beginning of that very recombination, so often mentioned by Dr. Henry Niman, has just been reported in a dead Egyptian man. This would mean, of course, that the vaccines now being prepared for an A-H1N1 pandemic would be USELESS. The H5N1 component is not being factored into the six different vaccines under development/production now. So, if the the two viruses in this dead patient have recombined and gotten loose, we could be in for a long, dark winter.
Originally posted by mikerussellus
reply to post by ZombieSlayer
The CDC stated today that there was no mutation. In fact, the most interesting thing they did point out was that it may, may mind you, be linked in severity to ethnic groups.
[edit on 3-9-2009 by mikerussellus]
I wish our scientists and health officials, WHO could spill the beans on this -but there's a complete cover up regarding this important information!
Originally posted by observer
I am beginning to think we are not being told the whole story because it could create panic in the streets.