01 April 2010

Swine Flu Fatalities In Georgia

It ain't over til its over. It's been a year since the first reported cases of 'Swine Flu' from La Gloria Mexico. Since then the swine flu and the swine flu panic have spread all over the planet, ushering in a new era of global public health. WHO for the first time mandated a global vaccination program for all its member nations (194) for an H1N1 influenza virus that never proved to be much of a threat to public health - except in a few isolated places like the Ukraine. A mutation occurred which makes the virus more lethal. Now that mutation has appeared in Georgia - not the one in Eastern Europe- the one in the South Eastern United States. There have been several recent fatalities and the mutation may be spreading. Is this the third wave? Don't know, but don't lower your guard. Stay safe and do not take the vaccine that is again being pushed hard by the CDC and others.

D225G/N In Georgia pH1N1 Fatalities?

Recombinomics Commentary 23:39March 31, 2010

Public health officials are so concerned by an uptick of serious cases of H1N1 flu in the southeastern United States that they called a short-notice press briefing today to urge Americans to be vaccinated against the pandemic strain.The CDC is sufficiently concerned about the Georgia cases that it has loaned a team of its disease detectives to the state Division of Public Health to investigate the cases and help crunch data. A full analysis is expected shortly, Schuchat said, but the CDC felt the Georgia signal was so concerning that they went ahead with a briefing in advance of the analysis's delivery.The above comments on Monday’s CDC briefing raise questions about the urgency of the announcement. The increase in cases in region 4 had been obvious since early February, when the percent positive rate rose to double digits, and the numbers have been around 15% ever since. This increase was clear in Georgia and the CDC was brought in on March 5. The department of health website showed a jump in hospitalized cases a week and a half prior to the briefing, which was followed by a Georgia press release that cited jumps in hospitalizations and deaths.The numbers released by Georgia on March 24 indicated the spike of 80 hospitalized cases would be followed by 72 more for the following week, but more alarming was the death total, which was 14 higher than the previous report, which would represent an alarming and record spike. However, the state update only added 2 new fatalities, leaving a gap of 12 fatalities between the 72 in the March 24 press release, and the 60 in the updated tables.The press conference focused on the increase in hospitalizations and a need for vaccinations, There were hints that the new cases were from geographic areas that were slightly different than the fall, suggesting that vaccinations in these new areas would reduce the spread of the H1N1.However, numbers from media reports from District 4 or P&I data for Atlanta raised concerns that the record spike in hospitalizations was associated with a record spike in deaths. The P&I deaths for Atlanta was markedly higher for weeks 8-11 in 2010 relative to 2009 and in the two most recent weeks there were 28 deaths compared to 6 deaths in 2009. Similarly, in the adjacent District 4 there were 6 deaths in 2010, including three since March 9, while the Georgia data for the entire state only showed 4 deaths in that time period for the entire states. These data strongly suggest that the deaths in the tables at the Georgia website significantly under-represent the confirmed fatalities, which are a gross under-estimate of actual fatalities, raising concerns of a spike in more severe and fatal cases in Georgia, including the appearance of D225G/N which is commonly associated with fatal cases.Last fall D225G/N was linked to the death cluster at Duke Medical Center, as well as a genetically unrelated case collected in the same mid-October time frame. The source of the Tamiflu resistant virus with D225G/N was never identified and the clustered transmission raised concerns that there was additional transmission outside of the hospital setting. Thus far the CDC has only released one pH1N1 2010 sequence from Georgia, which was collected in February. The CDC has discounted the significance of D225G at Duke, Ukraine, and Norway and their low reactor assay for G158E has been inconsistent. Therefore release of sequences from severe and fatal pH1N1 March cases would be useful.

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