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Paradigm Shift Intervention Monitoring
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More Severe H1N1
Increases In Mississippi
These folks were dramatically sicker than anyone I saw with H1N1 which I described in an earlier column as "Flu Lite." The typical case of swine flu I treated in the office struck me as being about a third as debilitating as seasonal flu.
I treated these recent patients with Tamiflu and they all got better but it took longer than in previous years. I have always told flu victims in the past that, once they started on Tamiflu, they would feel better within 24 hours. Most would tell me they felt brand new the next day. This year that advice didn't work. Most of these unfortunates were in bed for three or four days and didn't feel a bit better until the third day.
The above comments of a General Practitioner in Mississippi raise concerns that the increasing severity in recent flu patients in Region 4 is widespread. Although this practitioner thinks his patients have seasonal flu, there have been no significant influenza A seasonal flu reports in MS or elsewhere in the US this season. Seasonal H1N1 has not been reported in 7 weeks, and H3N2 was reported at minimal levels, which were less than 1% of swine flu levels.
Earlier reports described more severe cases in Memphis, TN as well as UNC University Hospital in Chapel Hill, NC. Moreover, the per cent positive rate for swine H1N1 has increased to 25% for NC and 13% for Region 4 in the latest update. Region 4 also reported the first upward swings in swine H1N1 in the fall, which began in August in the south, where schools began the academic year weeks earlier than school districts in other regions in the United States.
Although widespread disinformation campaigns have been discounting the current pandemic, these anecdotal reports suggest H1N1 cases are increasing and more severe. Anecdotal reports also indicate school absenteeism is on the rise, but swine flu symptoms are being reported as bronchitis, allergies, stomachs flu, or seasonal flu, as happened during the swine flu outbreak in the fall.
Details on rising school absenteeism, which appears to be approaching 10% in some schools districts in the south, as well as sequence data from the more severe cases, would be useful.