The return of H1N1

pH1N1 has been quiet the past few years. But now its back. And its killing people.

From KHOU, December 19, 2013

Health officials say there have been six confirmed deaths from H1N1 in the Houston area recently, KHOU 11 News confirmed Thursday afternoon. That includes the four deaths at Conroe Regional Medical Center.

At least 14 people have become critically ill in Harris, Montgomery and Jefferson counties, including the four patients at Conroe Regional Medical Center.

Although public health officials are saying that this is the same strain that caused the pandemic of 2008/2009, we won’t really know that until the sequences from Conroe Texas have been made publicly accessible. In the meantime, it would be wise not to assume that either previous exposure or vaccine status is protective. They may be. But I woudn’t bet my life on it.

Given demonstrated problems with detection of the virus and its ability to kill, public health authorities are recommending prescription of Tamiflu based on symptoms alone. This is a wise policy.