Published On: Sat, May 25th, 2013

Alabama ‘mystery respiratory illness cluster’: H7N9 avian flu and novel coronavirus ruled out

The mysterious cluster of respiratory illnesses in southeast Alabama that hospitalized seven people, killing two is not a mystery anymore as the Alabama Department of Public Health (ADPH) and the Houston County Health Department have unraveled it.

Image/United States Geological Survey

Image/United States Geological Survey

According to health officials, the cluster was a combination of influenza A, rhinovirus, the virus associated with the common cold, and bacterial pneumonia.

Earlier this month, seven patients were admitted to the hospital with fever, cough and shortness of breath with no known cause for their illness. Public health officials began an epidemiological investigation to interview the families of the patients about travel and exposure.

Specimens were requested and submitted to the ADPH Bureau of Clinical Laboratories in Montgomery. Of the seven patients whose specimens were submitted, six were found to be positive for either influenza A, rhinovirus or a combination of the two, and three patients were found to have bacterial pneumonia. Two of the seven patients eventually died.

“This is good news. Testing has ruled out avian flu and novel coronavirus,” said State Health Officer Dr. Don Williamson.

Dr. Mary McIntyre, assistant state health officer for disease control and prevention, said, “While enhanced surveillance associated with this cluster is no longer necessary, health care providers are encouraged to continue routine year-round influenza surveillance activities and submit specimens to the state laboratory for testing.”

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About the Author

- Writer, Co-Founder and Executive Editor of The Global Dispatch. Robert has been covering news in the areas of health, world news and politics for a variety of online news sources. He is also the Editor-in-Chief of the website, Outbreak News Today and hosts the podcast, Outbreak News Interviews on iTunes, Stitcher and Spotify Robert is politically Independent and a born again Christian Follow @bactiman63

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