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The outbreak of H1N1 influenza that is registered in the state came from a person who traveled to Odessa, Texas, arrived in Chihuahua and spread to other people, said Sergio Piña Marshall, Secretary of Health of the State Government.
"A patient came, got serious and died. It was detected by molecular biology that it was H1N1 virus, were made through the analysis and epidemiological fence family were vaccinated and got control, "said the state official.
The above translation provides additional data supporting a United States origin of the H1N1 outbreak in Chihuahua, Mexico. Data from WHO’s FluNet indicates that influenza in Mexico has been dominated by H3N2 (see graphs below). H1N1 is rarely detected and influenza levels have declined markedly in 2011. In contrast, H1N1 levels in the United States are slightly less than H3N2, and like Mexico, influenza levels in general are now declining significantly.
In contrast to these prior trends, H1N1 cases in Chihuahua have spiked higher in the past week, including 5 deaths. Moreover, media reports have cited imported cases from Texas and New Mexico, suggesting that the sudden spike in H1N1 cases is linked to these visitors.
Imported H1N1 was cited by many countries in the spring of H1N1, when airport monitoring was increased and most cases were linked to the United States. The outbreak in Mexico appears to be following a similar path.
US sequences from late 2010 are dominated with the sub-clade with S188T and are similar to sequences isolates from the late 2010 outbreak in the UK. However, the case fatality rate for the Chihuahua outbreak is alarmingly high, raising concerns that the H1n1 is a more lethal variant.
The CDC has withheld 2011 H1N1 sequences. None have been released from 2011 collections in Texas and New Mexico, and only one sequence has been release for the entire 2010/2011 season.
Release of these sequences is long overdue.