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.
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