More than 100 new cadets at the U.S. Air Force Academy got infected with swine flu at a July 4 barbecue and fireworks display but quick isolation measures got it under control within two weeks, researchers reported on Tuesday.
The outbreak provided a unique opportunity to study the virus closely and Dr. Catherine Takacs Witkop and colleagues say they discovered some surprising things. Among them:
— Nearly a quarter, or 24 percent, of patients still had virus in their noses seven days after getting sick, including 19 percent who had been well for at least 24 hours;
— Tamiflu, the drug used to treat influenza, did not help any of the previously healthy young men and women get better any quicker;
— Most cadets were sick for five days or longer;
— Eleven percent of the cadets became infected.
In June, soon after the new H1N1 virus was declared a pandemic, 1,376 new cadets arrived for their first training at the academy, near Colorado Springs, Colorado.
"A total of 134 confirmed and 33 suspected cases of new H1N1 infection were identified with onset date June 25-July 24, 2009," Witkop's team wrote in the American Journal of Preventive Medicine....