Friday, November 20, 2009

Not Good News - Tamilflu resistant Swine Flu reported in North Carolina

Now this could really suck if it becomes prevalent:

Tamiflu-resistant swine flu cluster reported in NC
Four North Carolina patients at a single hospital tested positive for a type of swine flu that is resistant to Tamiflu, health officials said Friday.

The cases reported at Duke University Medical Center over six weeks make up the biggest cluster seen so far in the U.S.

Tamiflu — made by Switzerland's Roche Group — is one of two flu medicines that help against swine flu, and health officials have been closely watching for signs that the virus is mutating, making the drugs ineffective.

More than 50 resistant cases have been reported in the world since April, including 21 in the U.S. Almost all in the U.S. were isolated, said officials with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The BBC reported another cluster of five Tamiflu-resistant cases this week in Wales, in the United Kingdom.

The CDC has sent three disease investigators to North Carolina to help in the investigation there, said Dave Daigle, a CDC spokesman. CDC testing confirmed the Tamiflu-resistant cases.

All four cases at the hospital were very ill patients in an isolated cancer unit on the hospital's ninth floor, and it is believed they all caught the flu while at the hospital, said Dr. Daniel Sexton, professor of medicine and director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network.

Three of the four patients died and one is recovering, he said. Flu seems to have been a factor in each death, but they were very sick so it was hard to say that it was the primary cause, he added....

It is really not good news if one of the two leading antiviral medications (the other being Relenza) becomes ineffective in dealing with the flu.

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