The Tamiflu-Resistant H1N1 Virus Spreads In The Land Down Under

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Swine flu caused by the H1N1 virus became pandemic in 2009 and led to a health scare because of its swift spread worldwide. It initially originated from Mexico and it ran through 214 countries, while 18,000 people died from it, from a report of the World Health Organization. Humans were highly susceptible to this viral strain, since it was never encountered before by their immune systems. Flu season is not yet evident in the US and other countries in the Northern Hemisphere; however, the Land Down Under—Australia—also experienced the flu season from a few months back. According to the public health officials, the tamiflu-resistant swine flu strain has spread easily in Australia.

Tamiflu, with its generic name oseltamivir, was the commonly prescribed drug to patients, but soon a new H1N1 version resistant to Tamiflu emerged. Fortunately, such strain only infected less than a percent of the population underwent tests. It can only be transmitted from person to person through close contact or they are in closed environments.

The report, published in Thursday’s New England Journal of Medicine issue, stated that the swine flu strain resistant to Tamiflu had been transmitted more easily among men in Newcastle, an Australian city. Viral samples from 182 patients, who underwent therapy in doctor’s clinics and hospitals from May to August, were obtained by public health officials. It was revealed that 28 or 16% if the samples were resistant to Tamiflu.

The age of the 29 patients were from 4 months to 62 years old and the median age was 31. It further included 17 female patients, wherein three were pregnant. From the 29 patients, it was found that cough, where 89% of patients experienced it, and fever, suffered by 76%, were the most typical flu manifestations. Hospital admission was required in 7 patients; however, no one stayed in the ICU. Luckily, no one died.

Furthermore, through the genetic analysis of the flu samples, it was discovered that all the 29 patients had an infection with a strain. Several of them resided inside the 30-mile range of the seventh biggest Australian city, Newcastle. Two other strains had been found in the country. Moreover, the process by which the Tamiflu-resistant strain is transmitted among people is not yet well-understood. Eight of those patients were found to reside with an infected person, while those who rode together in the same car totaled to 2. The report revealed that there was no noted epidemiologic link among the others.

Three scientists working at the WHO and other authors of the report cautioned flu experts in the countries of the Northern Hemisphere to pay attention to this Tamiflu-resistant swine flu strain, especially this winter season. Watchfulness can help prevent the spread of this virus.

 

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