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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Australia : Newcastle strain of mutant swine flu

Via ABC News :

" Hunter New England Health says a drug-resistant mutant strain of swine flu has been detected in the Newcastle region, the largest outbreak reported worldwide.

The World Health Organisation's Collaborating Centre for Influenza in Melbourne found 14 per cent of the flu samples taken from the local region this winter were resistant to the drug Tamiflu, which is used to ease flu symptoms.

However, it appears the virus is not particularly severe, as there were no deaths among the 25 people infected and none were admitted to an intensive care unit.

Public Health physician Doctor Craig Dalton says it is not yet clear why the mutant strain has appeared in the Newcastle region.

"We're looking at the cases and we can't find anything particularly eliminating at this stage," he said.

"These people had not received Tamiflu prior to the collection of the specimen, so that means they didn't get the anti-viral treatment and then develop resistance.

"They'd obviously been infected with a strain that was already resistant to Tamiflu."

Health authorities believe the drug-resistant strain of swine flu could become the dominant strain of flu in the Newcastle region."

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