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Maryland Denies Additional "Similar Clusters" of Deadly Flu
Recombinomics Commentary 14:30
March 7, 2012

As the Calvert County Health Department has reported, DHMH is aware of four cases in adults from a single family with severe respiratory illness; three have died. At this time, no other similar clusters have been reported from Calvert County or elsewhere in the state.

The above comments are from the latest update from the Calvert County Health Department and DHMH.  It now notes that no similar clusters have been detected, which leaves open the definition of a “similar” cluster, as well as the status of individual cases.  The reported cluster is unusual because the attack rate in the family was 100% and the case fatality rate was 75% with the sole survivor still hospitalized.  Thus, it is unclear if clusters with no fatailities or fewer fatalities are considered similar.
An earlier anecdotal report indicated the funeral director was hospitalized with symptoms, and the initial press release on the outbreak cited 5 cases (which has since been downsized to 4).  The same anecdotal reported indicated cases were coughing up blood and rapidly declined, which has subsequently been confirmed in media reports, which also cited additional cases, including at least one fatality under investigation.
The serotype of the influenza A positive samples has yet to be disclosed, which is also true for the number of cases under investigation, regardless of cluster status.

An update on the serotype, as well as the number of suspect cases under investigation would be useful.

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