In a previous blog about the Situation in India, I mentioned a report indicating that patients there might be dying more rapidly of the new H1N1 virus:
From the Deccan Herald, September 16, 2009
Health experts believe the A(H1N1) virus has been mutating with local variants to become more virulent, with low temperatures and wet weather providing an ideal breeding ground.
As a way of substantiating their claims, they say that patients are dying within 24 to 48 hours after being infected by the virus. “The virus is not giving any chance to the doctors to treat the patient. That’s why even patients with good immunity are dying,” said Dr E A Ashok Kumar, superintendent of the government-run Gandhi hospital here.
Dr S V Prasad, superintendent of the government-run Chest Hospital—the nodal agency for swine flu treatment—believed the virus must have undergone change in its genetic make-up as it seem to affect patients faster than before.
Although the Indian health authorities attribute this apparent change in behaviour of the virus to genetic changes that occurred in India, there have been recent reports of more rapid deaths due to the new H1N1 virus in the United States as well.
From The Dallas Morning News, September 16, 2009
Cynthia Garcia left school ill on Thursday and died Sunday, hours after being admitted to the hospital. She was the first child in Dallas County to die of swine flu and the first to die who didn’t have a chronic health problem.
Cynthia also was the second Garland resident to die of swine flu, also called H1N1 influenza.
Cynthia Garcia was a healthy 11 year old who became ill at school and died less than 72 hours later. Concern about a more severe strain developing in Texas was expressed by a physician in Houston back in July.
At PFI_Forum, reports on the “Rumors” thread suggest there may be other cases of very rapid progression from illness to death.
There is insufficient evidence to suggest that a new, more lethal strain of H1N1 is circulating and infecting people with increasing frequency. However, given the consequences of such a strain, all isolates from fatal cases should be sequenced. Further, isolates that cause unusually rapid death should be tested in ferrets to determine if this property is due to virus or host factors.