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H1N1 Death Toll Mounts In Chihuahua Mexico
Recombinomics Commentary 21:15
March 28, 2011

Last night, a woman of between 20 and 25 years of age died of H1N1 influenza, as there are already 5 deaths from this disease across the state.

The above translation indicates the death toll in Chihuahua is rapidly rising.  All five fatalities have been young adults, and bear striking similarities with the 2009 outbreak, which was almost exactly 2 years ago.  The spike in severe and fatal cases at a time when seasonal flu is in decline raise concerns that the H1N1 in northern Mexico represents a variant.  The concern was increased by descriptions of cases as atypical pneumonia instead of H1N1.
The sharp rise in hospitalized and fatal cases in Venezuela, as well as additional regions of Mexico, provides additional similarities with 2009.  Media reports in Mexico suggests the Chichuahua outbreak is linked to H1N1 in the United States in general, and Texas and New Mexico in particular.  However, the CDC has not released any 2011 sequences from either state, and only one sequence for the entire 2010/2011 season has been released.
Similarly, the number of 2011 sequences from the entire United States has been limited because the last release was February 2, 2011 and was largely from December, 2010 collections.

Release of recent sequences from severe and fatal cases in the United States, Mexico, and Venezuela is overdue. 

The long delay in the release of US 2011 sequences raises signficant transparency issues.

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