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Monday, April 5, 2010

HEATH - H1N1 Mutation Found

Mutated Form of H1N1 Found in Mexico
by Karri Moser
The Mexican Health Secretary Jose Angel Cordova Villalobos publically announced Mexico’s first case of a mutated form of H1N1 in the country. This particular mutation has been found in a 10-month-old girl. This mutation is showing resistance to treatment, including resistance to Tamiflu. This flu treatment is the most widely used and effective weapon against the H1N1 flu. However, even with the mutated form, the child is steadily recovering.
The 10-month-old child with the mutated strain was admitted to the hospital on January 4, 2010. She came from Ecatepec. At the time of hospitalization, she was diagnosed with respiratory problems, bronchitis and malnutrition. After initial treatment, she improved enough to be released and sent home from the Mexico City area hospital. Ten days later she was once again hospitalized and diagnosed with aggravated pneumonia. She then tested positive for the mutated H1N1 flu. While she continues to recover, others with H1N1 are being tested to see if the mutation has spread further. So far, out of 150,000 tested, only 423 people are showing signs of having the mutated form of H1N1.
The discovery of this mutation shows the virus can mutate at any time and without warning, just like any other virus. Because of this, the Mexican Health Secretary is stressing the importance of vaccination. Anyone who is in a risk category should get vaccinated. He stresses taking advantage of the vaccine supply is the best way to prevent another wave of infection or any more preventable deaths from H1N1.
So far, out of 71,000 cases, over 1,000 people have died of the H1N1 flu in Mexico since the flu’s onset in April 2009. Worldwide, the deaths have totaled 16,000. Vaccines are still readily available for the public. Health officials also stress that simply getting vaccinated is still the most proactive approach for the public to protect themselves from H1N1. As with any illness or flu, washing your hands, covering coughs and taking common sense precautions can go a long way in keeping it from spreading.
If you get sick with flu-like symptoms, you should stay home and avoid contact with other people except to get medical care. Most people with H1N1 have had mild illness and have not needed medical care or antiviral drugs, and the same is true of this seasonal flu. However, some people are more likely to get flu complications and they should talk to their doctor about whether they need to be examined if they get flu symptoms.
People at high risk for developing flu-related complications are: children younger than five (especially children younger than two), adults 65 years and older, and pregnant women. It is also possible for other people to develop severe illness from the flu, so anyone who is concerned about their illness should consult with their doctor.