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Hemorrhagic H1N1 Cases in Lviv Ukraine
The above comments from the WHO update on Ukraine strike a more serious tone than yesterday's quotes from WHO spokespersons playing down the alarming number of hospitalized and fatal cases, as well as media reports spinning political considerations, or politicians claiming only 15 confirmed H1N1 cases. As the WHO update clearly states, the dominant influenza circulating worldwide is swine H1N1 and it is assumed that most cases in the Ukraine (see map) are swine H1N1. Since the official government website lists 19,189 influenza cases (in addition to more than 235,000 ARI cases), the willingness of politicians to cite 15 confirmed cases, as well as media support in the distribution of the propaganda, is unfortunate.
The more severe manifestation of ARI cases are clearly hemorrhagic disease that fills lungs with blood and produces bleeding at all orifices, which are stark reminders of 1918 pandemic cases which were also linked to a swine H1N1.
Samples have arrived at Mill Hill in London, and sequence data should be available shortly. Since current swine H1N1 produced lethal infections in previously healthy young adults, and produced hemorrhagic disease, changes in the viral genome may be absent or minor. Therefore, release of the sequences to the entire scientific community would be useful.
Similarly, an update on the number of hemorrhagic cases would be useful. Rumors have suggested that such the number of such cases is significantly higher than the six described in media reports.