Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Conroe Texas Mystery Flu, Duck Hunting, and H7N9 Avian Influenza

The Montgomery Tx health department released an update on the four still living mystery flu patients, but no word on the results of those who died. Of the four, one has tested positive for H1N1 influenza, two have been reported to have tested negative for all flu (not sure how broad that is), and the last victim is still awaiting results. The H1N1 result should not be surprising as it is pandemic in the Caribbean; it has this kind of killing pattern, and it seemingly likes the lower latitudes. Its possible and maybe even probable that all these cases are H1N1, BUT we have noticed a few correlations that make us not rule out the possibility of avian influenza H7N9.

The first thing that jumped out at us is that this part of Texas is duck hunting country.And, that part of Texas has had an abnormally wet and cool season leading to "what has been an impressive first 30 days of duck season." We expect the odds are low that North American ducks are carrying Pandemic H7N9 in 2013, but this exact area between Houston and New Orleans is where we would expect H7N9 to show up from natural transmission.

The second thing that jumped out at us is the reports of kidney and organ failure in the afflicted individuals, similar reports were made when H7N9 was also a "mystery flu". (its also known in to happen in critically ill H1N1 patients)

The third thing that caught our attention is the negative detections for influenza.  H7N9 also seems prone to evading detection, but that might also just be a function of the antiviral and testing regimes the Chinese are using.

The fourth thing that popped out at us that the primary H7N9 outbreak locations in China are in areas surrounding river deltas; Houston certainly fits this pattern.

It is possible that this may be H7N9 avian influenza, but we still think the risk is low. However, we also know that the authorities would be dragging their feet with any such information until they felt they were in a more positive response situation. For that reason, this is an Alert worthy event, especially if you live in the Houston area, as you'll be the first to face travel restrictions.  If its not H7N9, at least its a good preparatory dry run.


  1. Thank you Mr. Potrblog,
    Updates much appreciated. I happen to live by a sizeable lake.
    H1N1. Liver and Kidney failure... We shall wait and watch as usual. Be well.

  2. I live in Michigan and we are having awful weather for the spread of the flu and Im very concerned with Houston. We had a very early start to snow and low temps. Its was ranging 0-30 degress and we already have about 6 inches of snow on the ground as of 12-16 but to make it worse a warmer system came in and now its 35 and raining. Dozens of people are sick that I know personally, seems like a bad cold not the flu?, and Christmas shopping has been awful with so many people coughing and sneezing and touching everything. Thanks for your posts and please update on this one as you can.

  3. Thank you Mr. Potrblog, save the duck hunting from texas.

  4. Nice information! The H1N1 result should not be surprising as it is pandemic in the Caribbean; it has this kind of killing pattern, and it seemingly likes the lower latitudes. i just like this type of blogs.

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