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H1N1 Death Cluster In Montgomery County Pennsylvania
Recombinomics Commentary 22:45
January 4, 2011

A two-year-old Lower Merion boy, 32-year-old Upper Merion woman and a 24-year-old Norristown man are the first three people in Montgomery County to succumb to influenza this season.

The above comments are from a press release issued by the Montgomery County Department of Health in Pennsylvania, which also requested that residents get the current flu vaccine.  Although the serotypes are not given, the ages of the fatal cases strongly suggests that they are due to H1N1.  Montgomery County is just south of Lehigh County and just northwest of Philadelphia.  The Pennsylvania Department of Health previously announced an H1N1 outbreak in Lehigh Valley and two previously healthy young adults (45M and 28M) died within days of each other at Lehigh Valley Hospital, which represented the first two confirmed fatalities in Pennsylvania.  Two more deaths were announced shortly after the first two, suggesting all four were from the Lehigh area.

In the week 52 report from Pennsylvania, the death toll has risen to eight.  Although the location of the fatal cases are not given, virtually all confirmed H1N1 cases are in the above counties or adjacent regions concentrated in the eastern portion of the state.

This clustering of deaths in young adults and children raise concerns that a virulent H1N1 is emerging in a pandemic third wave.  Recent death clusters have been reported in Manchester and Liverpool in the United Kingdom, as well as Niijmejen in The Netherlands.

These clusters, coupled with reports of vaccine breakthroughs suggest a new H1N1 wave has begun in the northern hemisphere.

More information on these Pennsylvania deaths, as well as sequence data on the Pennsylvania cases, as well as recent fatal and severe cases in the UK, Spain, Sweden, Israel, Egypt, and The Netherlands would be useful.

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