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Mysterious illness kills 4 in Texas

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Kyle View Drop Down
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    Posted: December 17 2013 at 10:29am
Mystery illness kills 4 patients in Montgomery County

HOUSTON (KTRK) -- A mystery illness is going around in Montgomery County, and health officials are trying to figure out what it is, and why four people have died.

Authorities say that in the 2013 influenza season there have been 1,920 cases of influezna-like illnesses within Montgomery County. Montgomery County Public Health District was alerted to eight severe cases at an area facility. Of the eight cases reported, four patients have died.

Currently officials say no diagnosis has been made. Those affected are experiencing flu-like symptoms but have tested negative for common flu strains. The patients are at an unnamed area hospital waiting for further lab test results to determine the nature of the illness.

The patients have ranged in age from 40 to 60, but officials have not confirmed the time period of the illnesses.

Health experts remind residents to use common preventative measures to control the spread of infection, such as frequent hand washing and avoiding school and public places if you have a fever.

Christi Myers will have more on this story this afternoon on ABC13 Eyewitness News. Find Christi on Facebook at ABC13-Christi Myers or on Twitter at @ChristiMyers13



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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 10:51am
Mystery illness claims 4 lives in Montgomery County
By Carol Christian | December 17, 2013 | Updated: December 17, 2013 10:50am

Four of eight patients admitted recently to Montgomery County hospitals have died of a mysterious flu-like illness, officials said.

The patients, ranging in age from 41 to 68, were admitted to the hospital with flu symptoms, but tests for influenza were negative, said Jennifer Nichols-Contella, spokeswoman for the Montgomery County Public Health District.

"We're monitoring the situation and waiting on further lab results," Nichols-Contella said Tuesday.

No details were available Tuesday on the dates of the deaths or hospitalizations, she said.

Although the Montgomery County patients did not test positive for influenza, this is the heart of the U.S. flu season, which typically peaks in January or February, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

During the week ending Dec. 7, four states - Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi - reported high levels of influenza-like illness, the CDC reported. The levels of activity are based upon the percentage of outpatient doctor visits that are due to influenza-like illness, according to the CDC website.


http://www.chron.com/neighborhood/spring/health/article/Mystery-illness-claims-4-lives-in-Montgomery-5071680.php

"Buy it cheap. Stack it deep"
"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lillie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 10:52am
My father passed away Friday. He was 68 years old with no preexisting conditions and no history of drug or alcohol abuse. He had been out cutting down trees in the front yard and thought he had a hernia and pulled muscle in his back. He had diarrhea and flu like symptoms. He was put into a medical coma and given 100% oxygen through life supportb but only showed 80% oxygen blood saturation. He was put on dialysis and he progressively got worse. His daily chest exrays showed his lungs were improving. His doctor was baffled.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 10:56am
Lillie - I'm so sorry.

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"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lillie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 10:58am
He was the 68 year old who was in Conroe Regional Medical Center until he passed away Friday, December 13, 2013. He was hospitalized from Thursday till the following week when he passed away on Friday.
I believe people need to be aware of this illness and take precautions. Wash your hands, where a face make in doctors offices and hospitals and if you don't have a sink near you use antibacterial hand sanitizer.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rymich14 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 11:13am
Lillie, is there alot of people with this illness? Have they tested for things like MERS coronavirus, or any other agents? Is there any connection between any of those 8 cases that you know of, and or any travel to the middle east and or china?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote coyote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 11:18am
<snipped>

Texas -- Officials with the Montgomery County Health Department are on a mission to find out more about a mystery flu-like illness.

So far, half of the people who have come down with it have died.

According to the health department, all of the patients have had flu-like and/or pneumonia like symptoms. However, all of them have tested negative for the flu.

[link to www.khou.com]

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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote coyote Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 11:26am
The mystery illness in TX is not new:

Mystery illness linked to 2 deaths; doctors stumped
May 11, 2013
[link to www.houstonchronicle.com]
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 11:42am
Not good.  Flu like symptoms, but tested neg for all flu strains?   Should probably test for MERS to rule out all possibilities.   Interesting...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 12:05pm
The first H7N9 patient in Hong Kong tested negative twice until they took deep lung samples.
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"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 12:08pm
I edited my last post, but I also suggested that h7 might not yield a positive for influenza A. Whatever it is, seems to be transmitting rather efficiently.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Dutch Josh Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 12:20pm
Henry Niman does not rule out H1N1pdm09.  A pandemic is not over just like that. Terrible news if things come that close.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 1:52pm
It's not h1n1. Would have been detected
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote jacksdad Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 2:40pm
I agree with Albert - it's highly unlikely they would have had problems confirming H1N1.
"Buy it cheap. Stack it deep"
"Any community that fails to prepare, with the expectation that the federal government will come to the rescue, will be tragically wrong." Michael Leavitt, HHS Secretary.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Diligent Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 3:22pm
This is off topic.
 At this time keeping an eye on radiation sickness may be prudent.
I'm just not sure.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 5:05pm
My initial thought was that MERS would piggy back off h1n1.  The small cluster is a little confusing as h7 and MERS spread at the same rate.   Knowing symptoms would help, although pneumonia and organ failure are the same with both.  h7 would most likely result in lung lesions.  As niman would say, symptoms would be useful.  Stern Smile
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Lillie Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 6:11pm
The X-rays taken of my father daily showed that his lungs were clearing up but his vital signs and oxygen levels were progressively getting worse. That would rule out lung legions because they are detected through X-rays.
I do know my father had not been out of the country in years when he and my mother went to Cancun. He retired 3 years ago so he and my mother went to Church and the store.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Kyle Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 6:37pm
CONROE, Texas – The investigation into a mysterious illness in Montgomery County is expanding as other hospitals and doctors report similar cases.
The new case files are being reviewed for similarity to the eight at Conroe Regional Medical Center that prompted a Montgomery County Health Department investigation.
Four of those eight patients died and two are still fighting for their lives.
"We don’t currently have a diagnosis for what has caused those illnesses," Montgomery County Medical Director Dr. Mark Escott said.
State and regional health departments have already been notified and are also looking for reports of new cases.
"Other health departments will need to be looking for cases like this to make sure that we haven’t missed cases," Dr. Escot said.


Technically, the illness is classified as an influenza-like illness or ILI. There have been nearly 2,000 ILI cases in Montgomery County this year, but these eight are different.
"Eight serious cases at a local hospital that developed with influenza-like symptoms that developed serious complications, including death for four of those eight patients," said Montgomery County Medical Director Dr. Mark Escott.
At least some of those patients, all between the ages of 41 and 65, developed pneumonia.
They all tested negative for standard strains of the flu, and that is part of the problem.
"The big worry about a situation like this is, ‘Could this be a novel flu of some sort?’" Escott explained. "It could certainly be lots of other viruses or other diseases but that is the big concern."
Wayne and Judith Law recently lost their daughter to a similar illness. Fifty-year-old Gayla Marcantel died last week at a hospital in North Harris County.
"It is just devastating. You see your child lying there, swelling because of all the fluids and they can’t do anything," Judith Law said.

Marcantel was perfectly healthy until she came down with flu-like symptoms about three weeks ago and ended up in ICU.
"They were seemingly doing everything that they could do. It was just a continual thing of trying something new," Judith Law said.
The Laws stayed by their daughter’s side and watched helplessly as she continued to go downhill.
Eventually, her body couldn’t fight anymore and her organs failed.
"We lost her," Judith said through tears. "You have no answers. You rely on what the doctors are telling you, but you still have questions and they really have no answers."
Viewers have contacted us about similar cases in other areas, but experts are just beginning to look at additional cases.
The health department in Montgomery County is urging everyone to do their part to prevent any illness from spreading: wash hands frequently; cover your cough but don’t cough into your hands; stay home if you’re sick; and get to the doctor within the first 48 hours of illness.




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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote rymich14 Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 6:40pm
Originally posted by Lillie Lillie wrote:

The X-rays taken of my father daily showed that his lungs were clearing up but his vital signs and oxygen levels were progressively getting worse. That would rule out lung legions because they are detected through X-rays.
I do know my father had not been out of the country in years when he and my mother went to Cancun. He retired 3 years ago so he and my mother went to Church and the store.


Did he have any kind of expansive tests, if I would you I would ask them to run a complete screen on him during a autopsy or whatever for H7N9, MERS etc.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Albert Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: December 17 2013 at 7:18pm
I'm not sure about the lung lesions and was only a guess, assuming that h7n9 might act similar to h5n1.  China does not release information regarding h7n9 symptoms, treatment, etc.... no information whatsoever.   That's one reason why I don't speak too highly of Chan and the WHO when they praise China for their transparency.  Almost odd when I see that.  Anyway,  It's only a guessing game with what Chinese officials know with regard to symptoms and treatment.  Organ failure is something common with both.

I'm also sorry for your loss Lillie.

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