H1N1 Flu Update – Week Ending Nov. 20

Norway Reporting Possible Problematic H1N1 Mutation
Stress on the *possible.*
The Norwegian Institute of Public Health found this form of swine flu in two patients who died and one who had a severe case, but this article also includes the following from the institute’s statement:

Based on what we know so far, it seems that the mutated virus does not circulate in the population, but might be a result of spontaneous changes which have occurred in these three patients. (Rob Stein, Washington Post, link above)

Swine Flu Lessons and Predictions
Greg Dworkin, pediatric pulmonologist and founder of Flu Wiki, blogs about flu and pandemics over at Daily Kos. Check out this latest installment for a good general overview of where we are now with H1N1 and vaccines, the state of U.S. public health, and its role in this pandemic and future ones.

Be Careful Even with Mild Asthma and H1N1
New research out of Toronto underlines and reiterates the swine flu risk facing all asthmatics.

Wales Investigating Possible Person-to-Person Spread of Tamiflu Resistant H1N1
Person-to-person transmission of a Tamiflu resistance has so far happened only once before (and contained), here in the U.S., so this would be a first for Europe. What health officials worry about is a sustained spread.

First H1N1 Cat Death
Overall, three U.S. cats total have contracted swine flu, and this case from Oregon is the first fatality. According to this article, your cat can most likely catch this flu from you, but it’s uncertain whether the cat itself can pass the virus along.

On the Non-Flu But Still Lung-Related Front:

Acoustics Engineer + Body/Sound Brainstorming = Lung Flute
Sandy Hawkins, intrigued by the idea of harnessing sound vibrations to help COPD sufferers, came up with this plastic tube built to send vibrations through the chest when a patient blows into it. And guess what those vibrations loosen? The stubborn mucus that plagues lung patients, meaning the device has the potential to help asthmatics, too. Check out this excerpt from the Popular Science article (link above):

Today, doctors in Japan use the $40 Lung Flute as a tool to collect sputum from patients suspected of carrying tuberculosis, and in Europe and Canada it’s used to help test phlegm for lung cancer. Clinical trials in the U.S. have shown that it is at least as effective as current COPD treatments.

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