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Biological Hazard in USA on Wednesday, 18 December, 2013 at 09:58 (09:58 AM) UTC.

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Updated: Friday, 20 December, 2013 at 19:50 UTC
Description
Health officials say there have been 6 confirmed deaths from H1N1 (influenza virus infection) in the Houston area recently, KHOU 11 News confirmed on Thursday afternoon (19 Nov 2013). That includes the 4 deaths at Conroe Regional Medical Center. At least 14 people have become critically ill in Harris, Montgomery, and Jefferson counties, including the 4 patients at Conroe Regional Medical Center. This is the same strain of H1N1 that caused a pandemic in 2009. Doctors have been seeing hundreds of new cases recently in Texas and nationwide. In fact, H1N1 is one of the viruses included in this year's (2013) flu shot. Health officials from all over the region spent Thursday afternoon in a conference call comparing notes about all the cases. They suspect that all of the cases at the Conroe Regional Medical Center are H1N1, or what used to be called the "swine flu". Officials in Montgomery County, which is where this all started, are meeting to formulate further plans. All the jurisdictions in the region are working together to create a profile of these cases, so doctors know what to look out for. That will be shared with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the Texas Department of Health. CDC has already offered assistance on this cluster of cases. The illnesses started with flu-like symptoms, then progressed to pneumonia and, in some cases, organ failure. All of the patients initially tested negative for the flu. News about the illness has people packing into doctors' offices and clinics. At the Conroe Urgent Care Clinic Thursday (19 Dec 2013), at least 18 patients came in with flu-like symptoms. "We're testing at least 5 to 7 people positive for H1N1 (daily) as opposed to October (2013) when we hardly had any," said physician assistant Derrick Goodwill. The commonly used rapid flu test is not very reliable. "The recommendation right now is to give Tamiflu to patients even if they don't test positive," Goodwill said. That is also why Montgomery County health officials now plan to use a more reliable, but costly and time-consuming test on those patients sick from the "mystery" bug and those who died from it.
  
 
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