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Drug resistant H1N1 virus found in Delaware

Wednesday, December 9th, 2009



While the overall number of H1N1 cases nationwide has been on the decline in recent weeks, health officials are concerned that the virus could mutate to resist anti-viral medication.

The Centers for Disease Control confirmed that a 52-year-old Kent County man who died from complications of H1N1 last month had a strain that showed resistance to antiviral medication.  It’s the first such case found in Delaware that didn’t respond to Tamiflu treatment.  State health officials say the victim had a number of underlying health problems that made his fight against H1N1 complicated even without the resistance to antiviral medication.

Director of the Delaware Division of Public Health Dr. Karyl Rattay says the resistance can cause a number of other complications which would require increased treatment efforts.  “Someone might be more likely to become dehydrated, so they might need IV fluids.  They might be more likely to get a bacterial infection, and if it became widespread, we would certainly expect more deaths.”

After examining more than 15-hundred specimens nationwide, the CDC has identified just 15 cases that were resistant to antiviral medication.  While the resistant cases represent just one percent of those that were tested, the CDC is asking states to continue sending samples.  Their main concern is making sure the drug resistant version of the virus doesn’t grow more widespread.


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