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Like H1N1 influenzaneen was abating somewhat in Norway, has health experts in the country got itself a shock: The virus has begun to mutate, so its genetic composition will change.
Thus it may be more dangerous and harder to combat.
It is serious, but there is no reason to panic, said the Norwegian health authorities, which has just held a press conference on the new discovery.
Norway extra hard hit So far, 23 people died after receiving Influenza A (H1N1), also known as swine flu.
Up to one million Norwegians are believed to have had influenzanen already. Thus, the country relative to its size hit harder than most other countries.
"We found the mutant virus in two patients who died in Norway, which means that this virus may have circulated in Norway since the pandemic began. Therefore we expect no major change in the situation in the future, "says director since Norwegian helsedirektoratet, Bjørn-Inge Larsen told the newspaper Aftenposten.
According to Aftenposten, the mutated virus allegedly also been registered in other countries.
The new mutated virus thrives further down the airways than the original.
This implies more severe disease compared to the original H1N1 influenza, which only affects the neck and upper parts of airways.
Denmark has two people today have lost their lives as a result of H1N1. Also read yet a chronically ill Dane died of H1N1
The virus has changed Laboratory samples from 70 patients have been studied and found viruses with mutations in the three of them.
Two of the three people who had the mutated virus in the body, is now dead. The samples have been studied both in Norway and in London with experts from the World Health Organization.
Here it has been confirmed that the virus has changed. The authorities point out that influenza attack with the mutant virus can be prevented with the known Influenza A vaccine and fought with the drug Tamiflu. Moreover, assuming that it is less contagious than the original A (H1N1).