Lethal mystery flu virus in Ohio

Within the space of 3 days, one former student and one new student, both healthy young people, died with flu-like symptoms and pneumonia in a small college town in Ohio. What killed these young people?

The first to die was 22 year old Kimberly Young, a recent graduate of Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. She had been working in a coffee shop in Oxford when she became ill in mid-September. She died on September 23, 2009 of complications from viral pneumonia. She had initially been diagnosed with swine flu (Dayton Daily News, September 26, 2009). However, her family was later told by Ohio public health officials that she did not die of the new H1N1 virus (Fox Toledo.com, September 28, 2009). What virus did kill her? Ohio public health officials apparently do not know. It’s a mystery.

The second to die was Matthew Healey, an 18 year old Freshman at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He died on September 26, 2009, 3 days after Kimberly Young. Again, he was initially diagnosed with swine flu. Again, public health officials in Ohio later claimed that he had not been infected with the new H1N1 virus.

From Boston.com, October 9, 2009

Nearly two weeks after the death of Matthew Healey, a dispute is swirling over the illness that took his life.

Ohio health officials said this week that the Hingham teenager, who fell ill shortly after starting school at Miami University in Ohio, did not test positive for the H1N1 virus. But Healey’s mother continues to insist that her son did have swine flu, and the family wants to set the record straight.

Brett Atkins, a spokesman with the Ohio Department of Health, said in a telephone interview Friday that he cannot comment specifically about Healey’s case because of privacy laws. But he confirmed that Healey’s death has not been reported as a swine flu death with the state or the federal Centers for Disease Control.

[snip]

Healey, 18, a healthy and active young man, graduated from Thayer Academy in Braintree in the spring. He became ill shortly after arriving at the Miami University campus, which is in Butler County, and died on Sept. 26. According to media reports in Ohio, Healy’s death certificate lists the cause of death as acute respiratory failure syndrome.

In an interview Friday, Elizabeth Healey, Matthew’s mother, took issue with Ohio officials. “This is an incredibly painful thing we have gone through and what they’re saying is erroneous and irresponsible,” Healey said. “As far as we were concerned, it was a private, particularly painful family tragedy, and somewhere along the line our privacy was violated.’’

Commenting on the official cause of death, Healey said that acute respiratory failure explains one aspect of the illness, but does not accurately record the root cause. “He did have H1N1,” Healey said. “To say he didn’t smacks of a cover-up.’’

Mr. Healey had tested positive on an Influenza A test. Since nearly 100% of all people who test positive for flu A are later confirmed to have the new H1N1 virus, Mr. Healey was diagnosed as having swine flu. However, after he had been in isolation for several weeks, he was given another test. The purpose was to confirm that he was no longer infectious. This test came out negative, as expected. For some reason, public health officials in Ohio have used this second test to assert that Mr. Healey never had the pandemic flu virus.

So, if Ohio public health officials are to be believed, there is a mystery flu virus killing college-age young people in Oxford, Ohio, population 22,000. Of course, the only real mystery is why Ohio public health officials are covering up the causes of death of these two young people.

Although I can understand why Miami University may not want people to know how dangerous it is for young people in Oxford, Ohio right now, it is imperative that this cluster of fatal cases be investigated. As I argued yesterday for the fatal cluster in Texas and in July regarding a fatal cluster in Indiana, if we turn a blind eye to these fatal clusters, there will be more of them.

Closing eyes will shut out, the warm light of a life
From: A Closing Eye, Desultory

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10 Comments

Filed under Outbreak

10 responses to “Lethal mystery flu virus in Ohio

  1. Some analysts believe not only that the flu was designed, but that it was designed to mutate quickly. This would solve many problems for the nation, and the world, without any politician having to accept the blame.

  2. monotreme1000

    Which nation? Certainly not the US. You can’t design a virus to mutate in a particular direction.

  3. Influentia

    ODH Director Jackson is a member of the Ohio Power Siting Board which is chaired by Alan R. Schriber who has an M.S. in economics from Miami University, Oxford, and was originally was a professor of economics at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio.

    http://www.opsb.ohio.gov/opsb/members.cfm

    Is the truth being covered up by something as simple as these two knowing each other or ODH officials knowing someone else at Miami U? I don’t know. There has to be a reason why ODH is handling this situation like they are. ODH hasn’t denied other cases in Ohio in which someone died of H1N1, that I am aware of, just these two around Oxford. Why? Is protecting the school’s reputation more important than telling the truth to the families involved and the people of Ohio? Sure looks likes it to me. My family lives within 30 miles of Miami U and within 50 miles of the two kids from Indiana that died of H1N1 in a Cincinnati hospital earlier this year; so I would appreciate it if the officials in Ohio would just tell the truth about what is happening concerning H1N1 in Ohio and do their jobs period. If a person in Ohio dying of H1N1 is determined by who ODH knows rather than by what the science is saying than some of these ODH officials need to do Ohio a favor and resign.
    Thanks for writing this blog on the subject.

  4. monotreme1000

    Influentia, you’re welcome.

    I think it is difficult for us to determine whether corruption of the public health system in Ohio is responsible for what appears to be a cover-up of pandemic deaths in Oxford, Ohio. However, as a citizen, you have the right to request that the FBI investigate any suspected incidences of corruption. Since State officials may potentially be involved, it is probably wise to request a Federal investigation.

    Anyone who has evidence that they feel may be of interest to the FBI can request an investigation.

    Go here to read about the program:
    http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/pubcorrupt/pubcorrupt.htm

    Anyone who wishes can submit a tip to the FBI. See upper right panel on the page I refer you to. You can either submit a tip online or call the Cincinnati Local Corruption Hotline (614) 744-2139. You do need to provide your name and contact information.

    Any cover up of pandemic deaths, particularly a lethal cluster, is extremely dangerous, especially to people who live in the immediate vicinity.

  5. Influentia

    Thanks for the info, I was wondering if there was any avenue I could pursue to get some answers. I have been following the situation here and I cannot figure out why the ODH is behaving this way concerning these two deaths. If the ODH is not citing science and tests etc. as the basis for their determinations than I don’t know what else is left besides corruption or incompetence. If everything is above board with ODH and any other public officials then I guess they have nothing to worry about concerning any inquiries a citizen may make.

  6. monotreme1000

    Here’s what Thomas Skinner, a spokesman for the CDC, said about the Oxford Ohio cases:

    “If there was an initial indication of a Type A influenza strain, you can bet it’s probably 2009 H1N1 influenza”

    As regards the FBI, I would encourage anyone who has any information on these cases to report their tip. Any one piece of data may be insufficient to trigger an investigation. However, it is possible that multiple tips on different aspects of these cases may suggest an overall picture of corruption that is not apparent to any one person.

    Just a suggestion.

  7. monotreme1000

    That certainly is worth trying, also. However, imo, most state public health directors make all their sensitive decisions based on what their governors ask them to do. I think the odds that Governor Strickland’s administration did not approve of any of Dr. Jackson’s significant decisions is small.

    When an important decision is made by any member of a Governor’s team, and this includes the state public health officer, the Governor or his personal representative retain veto rights. The fact that the State Public Health officer is just as beholden to the governor as the governor’s campaign manager is little-appreciated by the public.

  8. Influentia

    Strickland is running for re-election so contacting his opponents isn’t out of the question for me either. I had wondered if the Governor would have been advised about this, thanks for the info, good to know.

  9. monotreme1000

    Yes, even if nothing illegal was done, the political ramifications of what looks like a cover up might be enough to motivate a change in behaviour.

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