Houston Fatal and Severe H1N1pdm09 Cases Increase

Saturday, December 21, 2013
By Paul Martin

December 21, 2013

The Harris County patients were all men, ages 45, 50 and 53. Two of them had underlying health issues, including cardiovascular disease and obesity.

H1N1 is suspected in at least nine other deaths in eight regional hospitals, and that number is expected to grow quickly.

Four of those cases were at Conroe Regional Medical Center. Two patients that died in Beaumont likely had H1N1. We are waiting to learn the location of the other three deaths.

The above comments provide more clarity for the H1N1pdm09 situation for the Houston area. An earlier ABC News report cited 6 confirmed fatalities in the Houston area, which included the 3 Harris County cases cited above, and excluded the 4 Conroe cases (see map), which are being retested by the CDC (and results may be reported this weekend).

However, the confirmation of 6 deaths in the Houston area increases the likelihood that the 4 suspect deaths in Conroe will be confirmed. The latest weekly report from Texas (week 50) shows that almost all influenza in Texas is H1N1pdm09 (99% of flu cases are influenza A and 97% of influenza A is H1N1pdm09). The ages of the fatal and severe cases in Conroe (41-68) matches the ages of the fatal cases reported in the 2009/2010 season, when H1N1pdm09 emerged and also dominated (where levels approached 100% by the fall of 2009).

The explosion of deaths and severe cases throughout eastern Texas (see map) raises concerns that the 2013/2014 season in the United States will have striking similarities to fall of 2009, when H1N1pdm09 levels peaked and disproportionately affected those under the age of 65.

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