"We identified 10 patients meeting that case definition. 7 of them we've gotten results on. And those 7 patients, 2 of whom died had a combination of 3 different types of pathogens. 3 of those 7 patients had influenza a, regular old influenza, nothing magical about it. 4 of them had rhino virus....and 3 of them had bacterial pneumonia's of various sources," says Dr. Williamson of the Alabama Department of Public Health.
So far, a relationship between the patients has not been found.
"There want any connections between the patients, there was no evidence that there was any transmission so there's not an outbreak in that sense going on," says Williamson.
"The Alabama department of public safety is working in conjunction with CDC to establish some type of epidemiology, some type of link between these patients that have presented in the community, " says Charley Tew Associate Director of Nursing Services at Flowers Hospital.
Although the investigation is still ongoing and lab work is still being tested, doctors are still taking precautions.
"Gloves are universal, for airborne illnesses or suspected airborne illnesses, mask for the staff and depending on the situation, the patient, isolation gowns for contact illness and since we aren't sure what this particular illness is it airborne, is it a droplet precaution or is it some other organism, " says Tew.
"Whether or not these viruses represent a slight mutation off of those two strands, I don't have that data and it probably doesn't matter but both h3 and h1 are included in the influenza vaccine and will be next year," says Williamson.
The patients range in age from 24 to 87. Two patients have been released from the hospital.
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