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New Strain Of Swine
Flu - Influenza A H1N1

From Patricia Doyle, PhD
Hello Jeff -  I would love to see a comparison of the Spanish Flu A H1N1 genome compared to the Influenza A H1N1 new strain flu discussed below. As you know a more severe type of respiratory virus has broken out in Mexico. Could this be 1918 all over again? 
Remember, during the first wave of the Spanish Flu, it was called the three-day flu because the symptoms were not severe. At first, that is. As the virus infected more and more people it began to mutate more readily. The second, and third waves the virus was extremely virulent and deadly.  
Are we seeing the early wave of a new strain of H1N1, similar to H1N1 Spanish Flu? Epidemiological reports will be very important, especially in researching the age of those who became infected and died. Traditionally, in seasonal flu those over 65 have a greater mortality, however in pandemic flu we see people who are healthy and young who have the greatest mortality.
Just because the San Diego children had a "three day type of flu" i.e. a mild case of Influenza does not indicate that we are not facing a soon to be pandemic strain of H1N1.  
Seven People In US Hit By Strange New Swine Flu 
* CDC says no reason for concern yet
* Flu is unusual mixture but no deaths seen
By Maggie Fox, Health and Science Editor
WASHINGTON (Reuters) -- Seven people have been diagnosed with a strange and unusual new kind of swine flu in California and Texas, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported on Thursday.
All seven people have recovered but the virus itself is a never-before-seen mixture of viruses typical among pigs, birds and humans, the CDC said.
"We are likely to find more cases," the CDC's Dr. Anne Schuchat told a telephone briefing. "We don't think this is time for major concern around the country."
The CDC reported the new strain of swine flu on Tuesday in two boys from California's two southernmost counties.
Now, five more cases have been seen -- all found via normal surveillance for seasonal influenza. None of the patients, whose symptoms closely resembled seasonal flu, had any direct contact with pigs.
"We believe at this point that human-to-human spread is occurring," Schuchat said. "That's unusual. We don't know yet how widely it is spreading ... We are also working with international partners to understand what is occurring in other parts of the world."
Two of the new cases were among 16-year-olds at the same school in San Antonio "and there's a father-daughter pair in California," Schuchat said. One of the boys whose cases was reported on Tuesday had flown to Dallas but the CDC has found no links to the other Texas cases.
Unusually, said the CDC's Nancy Cox, the viruses all appear to carry genes from swine flu, avian flu and human flu viruses from North America, Europe and Asia.
"We haven't seen this strain before, but we hadn't been looking as intensively as we have," Schuchat said. "It's very possible that this is something new that hasn't been happening before."
Surveillance for and scrutiny of influenza has been stepped up since 2003, when highly pathogenic H5N1 avian influenza reappeared in Asia. Experts fear this strain, or another strain, could spark a pandemic that could kill millions.
H5N1 currently only rarely infects people but has killed 257 out of 421 infected in 15 countries since 2003, according to the World Health Organization.
The influenza strain is an H1N1, the same family as one of the seasonal flu viruses now circulating. Now that the normal influenza season is waning, it may be easier to spot cases of the new swine flu, Schuchat said.
Only one of the seven cases was sick enough to be hospitalized and all have recovered, Schuchat said.
"This isn't something that a person could detect at home," she said. The new cases appear to have somewhat more vomiting and diarrhea than is usually seen in flu, which mostly causes coughing, fever, sore throat and muscle aches.
The CDC is asking doctors to think about the possibility of swine flu when patients appear with these symptoms, to take a sample and send it to state health officials or the CDC for testing.
Cox said the CDC is already preparing a vaccine against the new strain, just in case. "This is standard operating procedure," Cox said. The agency will issue daily updates <http://www.cdc.gov/flu/swine/investigation.htm.>here
Seasonal flu kills between 250,000 and 500,000 people globally in an average year. And every few decades, a completely new strain pops up and it can cause a pandemic, a global epidemic that kills many more than usual. (Editing by Eric Walsh)
Patricia A. Doyle DVM, PhD Bus Admin, Tropical Agricultural Economics Univ of West Indies Please visit my "Emerging Diseases" message board at: http://www.emergingdisease.org/phpbb/index.php Also my new website: http://drpdoyle.tripod.com/ Zhan le Devlesa tai sastimasa Go with God and in Good Health 

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