Hemorrhagic Swine Flu in Iowa?

A  reader sent me this news item from a few days ago which hasn’t gotten widespread coverage that I’m aware of. The Polk County Coroner is claiming that the number of H1N1 deaths in Iowa is understated, and more disturbingly, he’s seen cases of people who were not diagnosed with swine flu dying of the same type of hemorrhagic pneumonia being reported in the Ukraine.

Absurd privacy laws keep him from revealing more, but this report from Des Moines’ KCCI is bowel loosening to be sure:

DES MOINES, Iowa — Iowa has officially recorded 21 H1N1 deaths, including seven in Polk County alone. But the county’s medical examiner said he has performed autopsies on some residents who were never diagnosed with H1N1, but actually had it.

“In the autopsy, what we’re seeing is very heavy, wet hemorrhagic lungs, lungs with a lot of blood in them,” said Dr. Gregory Schmunk.

He said the official count of seven H1N1 deaths is inaccurate, but patient rights laws prohibit him from giving specific numbers.

He said there are two reasons for the discrepancy. First, not all sick patients get tests and second, the virus is difficult to detect. Some patients may be too sick to receive the most accurate H1N1 test.

“They’re not always done and it can be hazardous to the patient if they’re in a respiratory critical situation,” Schmunk said.

He also said that some tests reveal a false negative.

“Because of our limitations on testing, sometimes the tests aren’t positive,” he said. “They do appear to fit clinically the course of a H1N1 viral-type pneumonia.”

He said the cases he’s seen in Polk County were all middle-aged adults with a few underlying health conditions.

He goes on to theorize that obesity may have played a part in the deaths which is bad news for we donut lovers. On a more serious note this is a very serious development if Schmunk is right. There’s a video report on the KCCI site.

Recombinomics.com has been tracking the D225g mutation that is thought to be responsible for several hemorrhagic deaths in Europe. While authorities claim this fatal mutation, which allows the flu virus to penetrate deeper into the lungs, is “spontaneous” and not spreading there’s evidence to suggest that’s simply bunk:

Although there have been comments that this change was “spontaneous” and did not spread, the finding of the same change in all four deceased patients in Ukraine from two distinct locations, indicates it did spread, as did the finding of the same change in multiple cases in Brazil and Norway.  Although the concept of “random mutation” has been used to explain away the sudden appearance of the same polymorphism on multiple backgrounds, the appearance via recombination is a much stronger argument for the same change to appear at multiple locations at the same time.

The spontaneous mutation theory, which is the foundation of WHO policy and statements on significance of changes relies heavily on a “selection” component, arguing that the same change keeps appearing on different backgrounds because of string selection pressure.  However, this same phenomenon was described for a silent mutation on H5N1, which offers no clear selection pressure.  Similarly, a silent change was also found in seasonal H1N1 in sequences that had acquired the Tamiflu resistance marker, H274Y.  Thus, these silent (synonymous) changes string argue against a coincidental spontaneous mutation, and instead argue that this acquisition is concurrently acquired because of a widespread common donor.

Or in plain English, bunk.

When I wrote about the Ukrainian hemorrhagic flu I said if it came here I’d be in my bunker indefinitely. Well, it’s here. I’ll be in my bunker.

One thought on “Hemorrhagic Swine Flu in Iowa?

  1. i think that in asian countries the Swine Flu did not spread rapidly compared to those countries that are located in colder climates. we should still be very thankful that the swine flu did not cause massive infections.

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