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 Study suggests possible new target for treating and preventing Alzheimer's
02.12.2016 | Oregon Health & Science University

nachricht The first analysis of Ewing's sarcoma methyloma opens doors to new treatments
01.12.2016 | IDIBELL-Bellvitge Biomedical Research Institute

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: Shape matters when light meets atom

Mapping the interaction of a single atom with a single photon may inform design of quantum devices

Have you ever wondered how you see the world? Vision is about photons of light, which are packets of energy, interacting with the atoms or molecules in what...

Im Focus: Novel silicon etching technique crafts 3-D gradient refractive index micro-optics

A multi-institutional research collaboration has created a novel approach for fabricating three-dimensional micro-optics through the shape-defined formation of porous silicon (PSi), with broad impacts in integrated optoelectronics, imaging, and photovoltaics.

Working with colleagues at Stanford and The Dow Chemical Company, researchers at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign fabricated 3-D birefringent...

Im Focus: Quantum Particles Form Droplets

In experiments with magnetic atoms conducted at extremely low temperatures, scientists have demonstrated a unique phase of matter: The atoms form a new type of quantum liquid or quantum droplet state. These so called quantum droplets may preserve their form in absence of external confinement because of quantum effects. The joint team of experimental physicists from Innsbruck and theoretical physicists from Hannover report on their findings in the journal Physical Review X.

“Our Quantum droplets are in the gas phase but they still drop like a rock,” explains experimental physicist Francesca Ferlaino when talking about the...

Im Focus: MADMAX: Max Planck Institute for Physics takes up axion research

The Max Planck Institute for Physics (MPP) is opening up a new research field. A workshop from November 21 - 22, 2016 will mark the start of activities for an innovative axion experiment. Axions are still only purely hypothetical particles. Their detection could solve two fundamental problems in particle physics: What dark matter consists of and why it has not yet been possible to directly observe a CP violation for the strong interaction.

The “MADMAX” project is the MPP’s commitment to axion research. Axions are so far only a theoretical prediction and are difficult to detect: on the one hand,...

Im Focus: Molecules change shape when wet

Broadband rotational spectroscopy unravels structural reshaping of isolated molecules in the gas phase to accommodate water

In two recent publications in the Journal of Chemical Physics and in the Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, researchers around Melanie Schnell from the Max...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

ICTM Conference 2017: Production technology for turbomachine manufacturing of the future

16.11.2016 | Event News

Innovation Day Laser Technology – Laser Additive Manufacturing

01.11.2016 | Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

 
Latest News

NASA's AIM observes early noctilucent ice clouds over Antarctica

05.12.2016 | Earth Sciences

Shape matters when light meets atom

05.12.2016 | Physics and Astronomy

Researchers uncover protein-based “cancer signature”

05.12.2016 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>