H1N1pdm09 Is Likely The Mystery Fatal Disease In Texas
December 18, 2013
Montgomery County Public Health District was alerted of eight cases at an area facility due to the severity of the cases. Of the eight reported, four patients have died.
At the moment, no diagnosis has been made. Those affected are experiencing flu-like symptoms but have tested negative for common flu strains.
The above comments are from a December 17, 2013 press release by the Montgomery County Hospital District in Texas. Recombinomics called for additional information and was told additional tests were ongoing and results were expected on December 18. The cases had been identified in the past few weeks and had tested negative for influenza. Answers to questions on the type of test (rapid or PCR) were not available. Subsequent media reports indicated all eight cases were at the same hospital, the Conroe Regional Medical Center, and influenza testing was via a rapid test.
Thus, the 8 cases presented with flu-like symptoms and were tested with a rapid test, which is notoriously insensitive (30-40% range). These “negative” cases then progressed to severe pneumonia, and 4 of 8 have died (with two additional cases in critical condition). This description strongly suggests that these are H1N1pdm09 cases, which tested negative on a rapid test, and hence have been cited in media reports as a “mysterious illness” outbreak.
Texas is among three southern states (Mississippi and Alabama are the other two) registering ILI cases at the highest level. The vast majority (about 95%) of flu cases are influenza A, and the vast majority of influenza A cases (>95%) are H1N1pdm09. Thus, influenza cases in 2013/2014 are similar to the pandemic profile in 2009/2010, when H1N1pdm09 disproportionately affected cases in the 40-65 age range, which matches the 8 cases described above.
Thus, it is very likely that the test results announced later today will indicate the “mystery disease” in Montgomery County is H1N1pdm09.