Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

New York autopsies show 2009 H1N1 influenza virus damages entire airway

09.12.2009
In fatal cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza, the virus can damage cells throughout the respiratory airway, much like the viruses that caused the 1918 and 1957 influenza pandemics, report researchers from the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner.

The scientists reviewed autopsy reports, hospital records and other clinical data from 34 people who died of 2009 H1N1 influenza infection between May 15 and July 9, 2009. All but two of the deaths occurred in New York City. A microscopic examination of tissues throughout the airways revealed that the virus caused damage primarily to the upper airway—the trachea and bronchial tubes—but tissue damage in the lower airway, including deep in the lungs, was present as well. Evidence of secondary bacterial infection was seen in more than half of the victims.

The team was led by James R. Gill, M.D., of the New York City Office of Chief Medical Examiner and New York University School of Medicine, and Jeffery K. Taubenberger, M.D., Ph.D., of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID) at NIH. The findings are reported in the Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine, now available online and scheduled to appear in the February 2010 print issue.

"This study provides clinicians with a clear and detailed picture of the disease caused by 2009 H1N1 influenza virus that will help inform patient management," says NIAID Director Anthony S. Fauci, M.D. "In fatal cases of 2009 H1N1 influenza, it appears the novel pandemic influenza virus produces pulmonary damage that looks very much like that seen in earlier influenza pandemics."

The new report also underscores the impact 2009 H1N1 influenza is having on younger people. While most deaths from seasonal influenza occur in adults over 65 years old, deaths from 2009 H1N1 influenza occur predominately among younger people. The majority of deaths (62 percent) in the 34 cases studied were among those 25 to 49 years old; two infants were also among the fatal cases.

Ninety-one percent of those autopsied had underlying medical conditions, such as heart disease or respiratory disease, including asthma, before becoming ill with 2009 H1N1 influenza. Seventy-two percent of the adults and adolescents who died were obese. This finding agrees with earlier reports, based on hospital records, linking obesity with an increased risk of death from 2009 H1N1 influenza.

The researchers examined tissue samples from the 34 deceased individuals to assess how 2009 H1N1 influenza virus damaged various parts of the respiratory system. "We saw a spectrum of damage to tissue in both the upper and lower respiratory tracts," says Dr. Taubenberger. In all cases, the uppermost regions of the respiratory tract—the trachea and bronchial tubes—were inflamed, with severe damage in some cases. In 18 cases, evidence of damage lower down in the finer branches of the bronchial tubes, or bronchioles, was noted. In 25 cases, the researchers found damage to the small globular air sacs, or alveoli, of the lungs.

"This pattern of pathology in the airway tissues is similar to that reported in autopsy findings of victims of both the 1918 and 1957 influenza pandemics," notes Dr. Taubenberger.

The researchers also examined 33 of the 34 cases for evidence of pulmonary bacterial infections. Of these cases, 18 (55 percent) were positive for such infections. Not all of those individuals who had bacterial pneumonia along with 2009 H1N1 virus infection had been hospitalized, however, indicating that some had acquired their bacterial infections outside of a health-care setting. This raises the possibility, say the authors, that community-acquired bacterial pneumonia is playing a role in the current pandemic. "Even in an era of widespread and early antibiotic use," write the authors, "bacterial pneumonia remains an important factor for severe or fatal influenza."

Computerized tomography (CT) lung images were available in four cases of pulmonary bacterial infection. In all four cases, the CT scans showed an abnormality known as ground-glass opacity, which are patches of rounded haze not seen in normal lung images. It is not known, say the researchers, whether the abnormalities detected by CT in the four cases also occur in people who have milder H1N1 infections. They call for additional investigation into the utility of CT scans as a tool to help clinicians identify and better treat severe H1N1 infections.

Visit www.flu.gov for one-stop access to U.S. government information on avian and pandemic influenza. Also, visit NIAID's flu Web portal at http://www3.niaid.nih.gov/topics/Flu/.

NIAID conducts and supports research—at NIH, throughout the United States, and worldwide—to study the causes of infectious and immune-mediated diseases, and to develop better means of preventing, diagnosing and treating these illnesses. News releases, fact sheets and other NIAID-related materials are available on the NIAID Web site at http://www.niaid.nih.gov .

The National Institutes of Health (NIH)—The Nation's Medical Research Agency—includes 27 Institutes and Centers and is a component of the U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. It is the primary federal agency for conducting and supporting basic, clinical and translational medical research, and it investigates the causes, treatments and cures for both common and rare diseases. For more information about NIH and its programs, visit http://www.nih.gov.

Reference: JR Gill et al. Pulmonary pathological findings of fatal 2009 pandemic influenza A/H1N1 viral infections. Archives of Pathology & Laboratory Medicine. Published online Dec. 7, 2009. {Note: Full text of the paper is available at www.archivesofpathology.org}

Anne A. Oplinger | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.niaid.nih.gov
http://www.nih.gov

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator
23.02.2018 | University of Turku

nachricht Minimising risks of transplants
22.02.2018 | Friedrich-Alexander-Universität Erlangen-Nürnberg

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Attoseconds break into atomic interior

A newly developed laser technology has enabled physicists in the Laboratory for Attosecond Physics (jointly run by LMU Munich and the Max Planck Institute of Quantum Optics) to generate attosecond bursts of high-energy photons of unprecedented intensity. This has made it possible to observe the interaction of multiple photons in a single such pulse with electrons in the inner orbital shell of an atom.

In order to observe the ultrafast electron motion in the inner shells of atoms with short light pulses, the pulses must not only be ultrashort, but very...

Im Focus: Good vibrations feel the force

A group of researchers led by Andrea Cavalleri at the Max Planck Institute for Structure and Dynamics of Matter (MPSD) in Hamburg has demonstrated a new method enabling precise measurements of the interatomic forces that hold crystalline solids together. The paper Probing the Interatomic Potential of Solids by Strong-Field Nonlinear Phononics, published online in Nature, explains how a terahertz-frequency laser pulse can drive very large deformations of the crystal.

By measuring the highly unusual atomic trajectories under extreme electromagnetic transients, the MPSD group could reconstruct how rigid the atomic bonds are...

Im Focus: Developing reliable quantum computers

International research team makes important step on the path to solving certification problems

Quantum computers may one day solve algorithmic problems which even the biggest supercomputers today can’t manage. But how do you test a quantum computer to...

Im Focus: In best circles: First integrated circuit from self-assembled polymer

For the first time, a team of researchers at the Max-Planck Institute (MPI) for Polymer Research in Mainz, Germany, has succeeded in making an integrated circuit (IC) from just a monolayer of a semiconducting polymer via a bottom-up, self-assembly approach.

In the self-assembly process, the semiconducting polymer arranges itself into an ordered monolayer in a transistor. The transistors are binary switches used...

Im Focus: Demonstration of a single molecule piezoelectric effect

Breakthrough provides a new concept of the design of molecular motors, sensors and electricity generators at nanoscale

Researchers from the Institute of Organic Chemistry and Biochemistry of the CAS (IOCB Prague), Institute of Physics of the CAS (IP CAS) and Palacký University...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

2nd International Conference on High Temperature Shape Memory Alloys (HTSMAs)

15.02.2018 | Event News

Aachen DC Grid Summit 2018

13.02.2018 | Event News

How Global Climate Policy Can Learn from the Energy Transition

12.02.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Basque researchers turn light upside down

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

Finnish research group discovers a new immune system regulator

23.02.2018 | Health and Medicine

Attoseconds break into atomic interior

23.02.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>