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Deadly 'superflu' hits Britain

2nd January 2009

Experts have said a new type of the H1N1 flu virus - thought to be resistant to medication - is circulating in England.


The new strain poses three times the risk of causing pneumonia in patients than the standard influenza virus.

It also cannot be treated by the usual flu medication Tamiflu.

A number of people in the country have been diagnosed with the drug-resistant form of the virus, although the Health Protection Agency (HPA) has reported that they had only seen "a small number of cases".

A study carried out by the HPA and a team from the Norwegian Institute of Public Health found that double the number of flu patients with the new strain went on to develop sinus inflammation.

"Resistance in a more virulent influenza virus can have serious public health implications," Siri Hauge, the study's leader stated.

She also said that as a limited number of treatments were available and the virus was stronger, it could result in "more severe illness and death in those who become infected."

Nine out of every ten cases of flu come from the H3 form of the flu virus.

A spokesman for the HPA said: "We are seeing very, very small numbers of cases of this [drug-resistant H1N1] strain of flu."

"We are also monitoring cases and from our surveillance have no evidence at the moment that it is any more virulant than was previously thought."


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Article Information

Title: Deadly 'superflu' hits Britain
Author: Jess Laurence
Article Id: 9695
Date Added: 2nd Jan 2009


The Telegraph

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