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H1N1 Death Cluster In Pennsylvania Raises Concerns
Recombinomics Commentary 14:12
November 24, 2010

Officials said the patient was a 45-year-old man from Lehigh County, one of two infected people being treated at Lehigh Valley Hospital within the last week.

"Young, otherwise healthy individuals, coming into he hospital with H1N1 pandemic strain and both ended up on a ventilator," said Dr. Luther Rhodes, III, Chief of Infections Diseases for LVHN. "Certainly, it could be a chance occurrence, but it's very unusual early in the season to see not one, but two cases of young, otherwise healthy, individuals get so ill from influenza."
Even though influenza activity was minimal in Pennsylvania during week 46, 3 flu hospitalizations were reported, two of which resulted in death.

The initial comments above describe the first H1N1 death in Pennsylvania this season.  The latter statements are from the Pennsylvania week 46 report, noting that 2 of 3 hospitalized patients died, suggesting both deaths were at Lehigh Valley and with 24 h of each other.

Although the death of 2 of 3 hospitalized patients is at an alarming rate (and likely cluster), the state report fails to even give the serotype or location of the two deaths.  Moreover, the above statements on health of the first fatal case have been dialed back with media statements of “underlying conditions” in the 45M.

More information on the serotype and relationship between the two fatalities would be useful.

The state report signals more lack of transparency on influenza deaths in Pennsylvania, the United States, and the world.

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