Texas pH1N1 Deaths Explode

Monday, January 6, 2014
By Paul Martin

January 5, 2014

The flu outbreak is growing and so is demand for vaccine, according to officials. Dallas County is now reporting eight deaths due to the flu, and another nine additional suspected flu deaths.

The Beaumont health director tell us two more people died at Christus St. Elizabeth from the virus, bringing the total to eight deaths.
They range in age from 24 to 73 from Jefferson, Jasper and Hardin counties plus one from the San Antonio region.

The above comments describe a large number of reported pH1N1 deaths in Dallas County (in red – see map) and in one hospital in Beaumont (blue – see map). However, over 60 deaths have been reported in the state (see map), and these reported cases only represent a fraction of the deaths, raising concerns that significant increases will be reported in the upcoming weeks.

Adult deaths from influenza are not reportable. Although a Texas report covering the emergence of pH1N1 from April 2009 to January 2010 details 240 cases which were concentrated in those under 65, the actual number of flu deaths in Texas are not known. The recent deaths are also concentrated in young and middle aged adults, many of whom were previously healthy.

The number of reported cases in Texas is grossly under-represented in part due to widespread use of rapid tests (more than 60% of confirmed flu cases in Texas are confirmed by a rapid test), which have a low sensitivity for pH1N1, as indicated in advisories by Texas, the CDC, and California. Moreover, almost all of the cases listed in the maps cited above are delineated in media reports. Thus, while there are 17 cases cited in Dallas County, there are no cases cited in adjacent Fort Worth. Other large cities are also glaringly missing cases, while others such has Hidalgo County (see map) have reported 6 confirmed cases out of a total of 24 (with more than half hospitalized or dead).

Thus, the cases shown in the above maps are only a fraction of the fatal cases, and the large number of hospitalized cases indicates these numbers will increase significantly in the upcoming weeks.

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