Friday, November 16, 2007

Move over bird flu, here comes the uncommon cold

Let the hand wringing begin.

A mutated version of an adenovirus, a common family of viruses that normally causes simple colds, has caused severe respiratory illness in patients of all ages, including healthy young adults, U.S. health officials announced Thursday.

The new and virulent strain of adenovirus serotype 14 (Ad14) killed 10 people in parts of the United States earlier this year and put dozens into hospitals, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

It also caused at least 140 illnesses in New York, Oregon, Washington and Texas. More than 50 of those patients were hospitalized, including 24 who were admitted to intensive care units.

Two of the 10 people who died from the new strain were infants. One was a 19-year-old female recruit at Lackland Air Force Base in Texas, where more than 100 other cases were found.

"The cases described in this report are unusual because they suggest the emergence of a new and virulent Ad14 variant that has spread within the United States,"

If human touch weren't such a powerful thing, I think we would all end up living in our own private bubbles by 2020.

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