H1N1 (Swine Flu): H1N1 Flu Cluster: Bay Area Pregnant Women
What is the Definition of a “Cluster?”
A cluster is defined as two or more individuals who have onset of influenza-like illness (ILI) within 7 days of each other AND reside in the same household or are associated with the same institution, activity, or event (i.e., school, travel, or work).
Pregnancy – Known Risk Factor
Pregnancy is a known “risk factor” for H1N1 but now there is the first documented case of a “cluster” of t at least five pregnant women have been hospitalized in the San Francisco Bay Area intensive care units due to complications of the H1N1 swine flu. Sources said two of the five women are no longer in ICU, but they remained hospitalized. All the fetuses appeared to be fine, the sources indicated.
This may be the first reported cluster of pregnant women infected with H1N1 in the country. One obstetrician who was consulted on all five cases told the local reporting new station, CBS 5, that he had never seen anything like this before.
All the pregnant women are or were in their early third trimester. Some required intubation or help breathing, sources said. Some of these women were perfectly healthy, while others had underlying health conditions. While the doctor could not divulge what other health conditions these pregnant women had, the Centers for Disease Control said respiratory conditions such as allergies or asthma or even heart disease, may put a person at a higher risk.
The CDC and the World Health Organization also warned that pregnancy itself may be a risk factor for contracting H1N1.
CDC officials said they don’t know why pregnant women may be at a higher risk for contracting swine flu or for complications following a swine flu infection. However, pregnant women, in general, have lowered immune systems. As for treatment, certain antiviral medications may help. Tamiflu and Relenza are believed safe for use in pregnant and breast feeding women.