In Alabama, a mystery respiratory illness has killed two of 10 who have been hospitalized due to it. Since last week, 10 people in Alabama have been hospitalized with a respiratory illness, and it has recently caused two fatalities. According to the Alabama Department of Public Health, early tests do not suggest that the patients are suffering from the bird flu, or any new type of flu virus, but two of the patients tested positive for H1N1.
In the news lately, there has been a lot of talk about the different types of flu coming up in different parts of the world. Many of these strains of flu are resistant to vaccines and can be much worse than any of the strains that are known to humans right now, so any type of illness that leaves health care professionals scratching their heads is something to be taken very, very seriously.
Dr. Mary McIntyre, who is an assistant state health office for the Alabama Department of Public Health, said that MRSA bacteria, or Methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus Aureus, is still potentially responsible for the illness, and may be even more likely as a secondary type of infection. However, some worry that this is not the case because one patient who was tested for the bacterial infection by their physician proved to be negative for it.
According to McIntyre, the Department of Public Health is testing for everything. It should be noted that Alabama state health officials do not think it is particularly likely that the patients have the new Corona virus that has been sweeping the Middle East as none of the Alabama patients had traveled.
The CDC in Atlanta has received laboratory samples and is currently evaluating them. Results should be available in just 24 hours.
The Alabama Mystery Illness has caused pneumonia, shortness of breath, fever and coughing. The first patient was hospitalized last week, but the most recent patient was hospitalized just today. One is making improvements and has been released from the hospital; another patient is on the road to recovery, and the other patients are still experiencing the initial symptoms of the illness.
All of the patients are from Dothan, Alabama, but they have no links. All of the patients were spread around the area, so it is unlikely that the illness was due to something environmental. The patients are aged from their 20’s to the late 80’s.
McIntyre said, “Right now, we are not finding a connection…such as a place of work, a restaurant where they all ate, or a meeting they all attended.”
Health officials have asked that those who notice that they have similar symptoms call their doctor right away, and stay home to avoid contaminating others.