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Online Discussion: Tracking new emerging diseases and the next pandemic.

H1N1 virus more virulent this year

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arirish View Drop Down
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    Posted: February 14 2017 at 8:40am
H1N1 virus more virulent this year, severely affects people aged over 40

COIMBATORE: Even as the health department continues to downplay the deaths due to the H1N1 virus, officials admitted that the seasonal flu has been more virulent this year. Dr K Kolandaisamy, director of public health, said the virus is affecting patients above the age of 40 more severely than last year. Many of these patients, after getting infected, have been contracting pneumonia, as a result of which they condition rapidly deteriorates.

"The H1N1 virus, like all other viruses, has its strains changing or mutating every year," said Dr Kolandaisamy. "This year, people above the age of 40 have been badly affected," he said. This comes after reports that the disease, which starts off as a sore throat and fever in patients, progresses to severe pneumonia in hardly three days even in patients who do not suffer from other complications. "However, the good news is that it is not affecting pregnant women too severely, unlike in 2009-10 when many women in Kerala died," he said.

Though there have been more than seven deaths purely due to the H1N1 virus in the government hospital alone, the public health department insisted that there have been only three deaths due to the virus. Speaking at a H1N1 virus prevention event at PSG Tech, Dr Kolandaisamy said, "There have been only three deaths in Coimbatore and Tirupur due to the H1N1 virus, but there have been other deaths due to comorbid conditions like renal failure and uncontrolled sugar. Those patients may have also tested positive for the virus".

The director admitted that around two to three patients have been testing positive for the virus every day since the end of December. "Around 30% of them are category C patients, or those with other comorbid conditions, be it senior citizens or pregnant women," said Dr Kolandaisamy. "These are the patients to be worried about as the H1N1 virus worsens their other problems. These patients have to ensure their sugar, blood pressure and other health issues are under control," he said.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 14 2017 at 12:17pm
That's interesting, arirish. I bookmarked an online article on my tablet yesterday by the Times of India that said something very similar - that they believed that H1N1 had become more virulent. After I'd read it (I was at work), I spoke to two people that were getting over severe bronchitis after contracting the flu. Both were under 40, and one told me she had tested positive for an influenza A strain. Whatever's showing up late in the flu season seems to be hitting those who were vaccinated as badly as those who didn't, possibly indicating a new strain or significant mutation.

The thing that's been bothering me is that back in 1918, the first pandemic wave was an unusually severe flu season that persisted into early summer. Interestingly, this year's flu season appears to be a particularly bad one, and it's been predicted to last longer than usual.

I'm not suggesting that we're on the cusp of a pandemic, but it behooves us to pay attention to past outbreaks and the patterns they often follow. Historically, pandemics have been cyclical - three every century if the last 400-500 years are anything to go by - and in the ratio of two minor to one major outbreak.

It's been 99 years since Spanish Flu killed millions, and in that time we've seen three minor pandemics (1957 Asian Flu, 1968 Hong Kong Flu, and 2009 H1N1). Both statistics should put us on alert that we're due, and we have a few candidates padding out their resumes as I write this. Will H1N1 revisit it's old host as it did almost a century ago, or will the torch be passed to an upstart like H7N9?

Viruses mutated and reassorted according to chance in years past - that's not the case anymore. We're susceptible to avian and swine flu viruses, and yet we cram immune compromised poultry and pigs into sheds that are also accessible to potentially infected wild animals looking for a free meal. Viruses freely infect and co-infect hosts in their hundreds of millions under conditions like that, producing novel strains at a rate we've never seen before. Habitat degradation, bush meat and live markets also expose us to previously unknown strains, and allow them to pass into human populations with absolutely no immunity. In short, we're making the viruses that could spark the next pandemic, and in unprecedented numbers.

Hopefully, we're still talking about this in ten years, but the world was caught completely off guard in 1918, and I predict it will be again because we never seem to pay attention to the writing on the wall. Prep now and hope you never need them, but don't think that waiting is ever going to be the best strategy.

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"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote SwineFlu Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: February 20 2017 at 3:24am
Beds are all full in Toledo,2nd spike hit hard mostly H3N2 the shot mix was was same for last 2 yrs I think it's drifted around it.They keep saying it's H3N2 numbers don't add up,just like 2009 numbers don't add up.

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