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Women with pneumonia tested negative for unknown virus
The authorities are focusing on verifying the origin of the virus by studying the specimen taken from the patient and conducting genetic analysis on it.
"The results are expected to come Thursday but the genetic test will take more than eight weeks, which means that more time is needed," Yang Byoung-goog, a KCDC official, said. "The virus we have extracted from the specimen was more of an ordinary flu virus.
The above comments are a rather indirect way of admitting that the “mystery virus” in South Korea is H1N1. The first quote uses a double negative to say that the virus is known and the second quote characterizes the virus as “more of an ordinary flu virus”. Since the “ordinary flu virus” designation is made by the Korean CDC, there is little doubt that the severe lung disease in pregnant women is being caused by influenza, and fatal infections of pregnant women by pandemic H1N1 is well documented.
However, the “results are expected to come on Thursday” did not meet expectations on Thursday or Friday, which strongly suggesting that some other novel approach for admitting that the “mystery virus” is pandemic H1N1 is under review, which increases the likelihood that the H1N1 is the Chihuahua sub-clade with D225N.
The severity of the cases allowed 8 patients to be identified across the country, with 7 of the 8 being from late term pregnancies. The Chihuahua sub-clade in Mexico led to massive vaccination campaigns when two patrol officers in Juarez died. Like the cases in Korea, there were initial problems identifying the H1N1, and the index case was never confirmed, even though the infection was fatal and the H1N1 was isolated from the fatal infection in the partner of the index case.
In both outbreaks the severity of the infection was easily recognized, but the initial descriptions cited mystery viruses that caused “atypical pneumonia” in Mexico and “pulmonary fibrosis” in South Korea leading to ProMED RFI reports which failed to identify the virus or even concede that the panic in each country was caused by a virus. The ProMED “atypical pneumonia” RFI pasted in a textbook definition of atypical pneumonia, which cited bacterial and mycoplasma origins and mentioned viruses as an afterthought. The ProMED “pulmonary fibrosis” RFI has a pasted definition that focused on dust particles and failed to note any viral origin or connection between the outbreaks in Mexico and South Korea.
The delay in information from the Korea CDC appears to be yet another effort to avoid acknowledgement of the relationship between the two outbreaks, which continues to increase pandemic concerns, which were noted in the WHO pandemic alert instructing countries in North and South America to activate pandemic preparedness plans.
An acknowledgemnt that the “mystery virus” in South Korea is H1N1 as well as a description of the relationship between the Chihuahua H1N1 with D225N, the subject of the pandemic alert, and the H1N1 in South Korea causing pulmonary fibrosis in previously healthy young adults, including late term pregnancies, is long overdue.
The delays in the release of this information continues to increase pandemic concerns.