View Full Version : 4 at Duke get drug-resistant H1N1,three have died

11-21-2009, 09:12 PM
DURHAM -- Four patients at Duke University Medical Center, all from North Carolina, have tested positive for a type of swine flu that's resistant to the antiviral drug Tamiflu, and three have died, health officials announced Friday at a news conference in Raleigh.

The fourth patient, a woman, is still a patient at Duke and ''is doing much better,'' they said.

Although the four had the H1N1 virus, they all had other medical problems, so it's uncertain if the swine flu caused their deaths, they said.

All four were in an isolated cancer unit, and it is believed they caught the flu at the hospital, according to Daniel J. Sexton, professor of medicine and director of the Duke Infection Control Outreach Network. The first patient was given Tamiflu before becoming ill with the virus, as a preventive measure, and the three others got Tamiflu after developing flu symptoms, Sexton said.

The Duke cases are the largest so-called "cluster" of drug-resistant cases of the swine flu in the United States reported so far. In those cases, the virus appears to have mutated, but the mutations are considered rare and so far don't appear to be cause for alarm, they said.

The press conference was led by Megan Davies, a North Carolina state epidemiologist; Duke physician Cameron Wolfe; and medical epidemiologist Zack Moore.

Davies said the N.C. Division of Public Health is working with Duke Medical Center and the Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta to investigate the Duke cases. She said the Duke patients' "antiviral resistance'' was confirmed Monday night.

The four patients were diagnosed with the swine flu in October and earlier this month and were hospitalized in the same unit at Duke. "Duke physicians discovered the resistant strain after some of the patients continued to test positive for flu despite antiviral treatment,'' Davies said.