Thursday, 23 May 2013

"Mystery" respiratory illness in Alabama, US.

The past couple of days has seen many reports on a growing number of cases of cluster of acute respiratory illness. The Alabama Dept of Public Health (ADPH) issued an alert yesterday requesting that care providers to be on the lookout for unexplained case of pneumonia.

Cases of interest present with fever, cough, shortness of breath and "something" on their chest x-rays. Upper airway swabs or aspirates have been requested from such cases, regardless of "quick flu" test results. To date, samples have been collected and sent to local labs and to the US CDC.

A total of 10 cases - including 2 deaths (30-40y of age ) - are yet to be linked to a suspected pathogen and are not epidemiologically linked to one another.
Two cases positive for influenza (H1N1 and a seasonal H3) have already been reported (rapid antigen point of care testing?) although the flu season is currently winding down in the US. Two patients have already been discharged.

The cluster of respiratory illness can be traced back to around April 19th. Preliminary testing results should be arriving from the CDC soon.

FluTrackers are keeping a close eye on every report here.