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H1N1 Likely Mystery Virus In Fatal Pregnant Korean Case

Recombinomics Commentary 05:05
May 12, 2011

A mystery virus that has infected eight patients from different parts of the country claimed its first known victim yesterday morning after a 36-year-old, nine-months pregnant woman died in a Seoul hospital of multiple organ failure triggered by pulmonary fibrosis and a stroke.

The Korea Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said yesterday that the woman had received intensive care treatment in a general hospital in Seoul for a month before her death. Doctors managed to save the baby.

According to the KCDC, the victim was one of the eight patients in the hospital receiving treatment for various conditions suspected to be caused by the same unidentified virus. All patients initially received treatments at different clinics around the country, but were later transferred to the Seoul hospital to receive intensive care, the KCDC said.

Women with pneumonia tested negative for unknown virus

The above comments are from an earlier report on a “mystery virus” causing flu-like symptoms in pregnant women, including a fatal case.  The description was classical H1N1 although the fatal patient suffered a stroke.  However, that description matched a fatal Pennsylvania case (11F) who was diagnosed as influenza, but the serotype was not released.

The Chihuahua sub-clade of H1N1 is circulating in Pennsylvania and the first reported sequence A/Pennsylvania/02/2011 was from a fatal case and sequences for a second Pennsylvania case, A/Pennsylvania/04/2011, have also been released.  Both sequences are virtually identical to the Chihuahua sub-clade in Ecuador, Mexico, and Venezuela, which precipitated a pandemic alert, increasing concerns that the fatal case (11F) in Pennsylvania, who suffered a stroke, died from Chihuahua H1N1.

ProMED issued an Pulmonary Fibrosis RFI, claiming that the media reports did not contain enough information to determine that the death or hospitalizations were due to a virus.  However, the recent media report claiming that the patients “tested negative for an unknown virus” suggests the patients tested positive for a known virus, like Chihuahua H1N1.

The Korean CDC is expected to make an announcement tomorrow.  If the announcement is for the anticipated confirmation of H1N1, release of sequences from the eight patients would be useful.

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