Saturday, April 14, 2012

CDC Flu Stats for Week Ending April 7: Is the Stomach 'Flu' Being Tracked by the CDC


This post is a follow up on my comments afew days ago concerning a virulent stomach "flu" outbreak in Phoenix.

I've checked and it is not part of the influenzas currently being tracked by the CDC

The current influenzas include, in order of frequency,
Influenza A H1N1
Influenza A H3
Influenza B

Arizona's statistics are here:

All of these influenza viruses involve fevers.

The stomach outbreak here in Phoenix does not include a fever. So, it is not part of the influenzas currently being tracked by the CDC.

Not all viral infections are influenzas.

The stomach outbreak could be an undiagnosed virus or it could be a bacterial infection, possibly even caused by a food outbreak.

I am going to watch the progression of the stomach symptoms.

I did find an outbreak of food poisoning in Japan linked to a Norovirus
http://www.japantoday.com/category/national/view/68-people-suffer-food-poisoning-at-new-otani-hotel-in-tokyo

The CDC explains that norovirus infection symptoms include stomach pain, diarrhea,    nausea, and sometimes fever.
http://www.cdc.gov/norovirus/index.html

There is an unusual outbreak of norovirus in Arizona elderly homes. What is unusual is the high clustering of cases; although, only 7 clusters have actually been reported
http://www.nhmonitor.com/?p=8780
http://www.azcentral.com/news/articles/2012/04/09/20120409arizona-health-officials-warn-public-about-norovirus.html 

Could a norovirus explain the stomach disease outbreak in Phoenix? 

Noroviruses cannnot be cultured, as described in this study:

"Since noroviruses cannot be cultured (6), it is difficult to assess their resistance to ionizing and nonionizing radiation. The rate of inactivation by radiation has to be studied by using molecular methods or model viruses. Detection by PCR underestimates the efficiency of radiation for inactivating viruses (23)..." http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC520909/

Identifying a virus that cannot be cultured presents obvious challenges for diagnoses.

It may seem strange to hope that a norovirus is responsible for the outbreak here, but the alternative seems worse.

Human susceptibility to all viruses is influenced by their general standard of health.



 

3 comments:

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  2. I came down with this on Thursday April 19th along with my 14 month old son. 21st -wife came down. illness presented w/ nausea, violent vomiting, chills, headache and exhaustion -some diarrhea in the baby and sever dehydration. Severe symptoms lasted 24-48 hours then ability to drink followed by eating returned after a few more days. Almost went to hospital for IV. My Aunt had postponed a trip out to visit from CA but waited for us to recover a little. Despite warnings she came out anyway on Tuesday the 24th and now has the symptoms today Thursday the 26th. I am led to think that the illness is contagious and not foodborne. a Week later and we still feel a little sub-par. What the hell is it?!

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    1. After studying the symptoms -I'm going with Norovirus.

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