Swine flu mutation discovered in Norway
Country’s first two swine flu fatalities carried mutated strain of virus
A new mutation of the swine influenza virus has been discovered in Norway. The mutation found is slightly more dangerous than the original A(H1N1) virus in the sense that it attacks the lungs directly. The normal virus first invades the throat and the upper respiratory passage.
The mutated virus also survives airborne longer than the original strain, but it is slightly less infectious.
Various mutations of the swine flu virus have been discovered before. However, what makes the newly-found strain noteworthy is the fact that it was discovered from the first two victims to die of the disease in Norway.
In laboratory tests the mutation has been found from five individuals in all. Three of the patients are being treated in intensive care units.
Although the mutation is serious, there is no reason to panic, the officials affirm.
“Based on what we know, it seems that the available medication and vaccination are effective against this mutation as well”, says director Geir Stene-Larsen of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health.
So far more than 30 variations of the swine flu virus have been uncovered in different countries.
With 23 fatalities, 21 of whom belonged to risk groups, Norway has suffered the greatest losses of all the Nordic Countries so far in the face of the swine flu epidemic.
In Sweden 19 people have succumbed to the illness.
Denmark had its first victims on Wednesday of last week. Both were men, one in his 30s and the other in his 60s. Both belonged to the swine influenza risk groups.
In Finland, at least in the southern part of the country the epidemic seems to be passing its peak. The number of confirmed cases is more than 5,000. The death toll has reached 12.
Previously in HS International Edition:
Swine flu epidemic peaking in Southern Finland (19.11.2009)