Cytokine Storm?

Swine flu is still heating up!  As of today, there have been 44,287 cases of Influenza A(H1N1) infection, including 180 deaths world-wide.

One death, that of a 20-year-old healthy woman from Escondido, CA has puzzled health officials.  “An excessive immune-system response that triggers a lethal molecular battle within the body could explain the deaths of Cheval and the handful of other young, healthy swine-flu patients, some scientists and epidemiologists said.”  This is also known as the dreaded cytokine storm.  “That potentially deadly process begins when an infection invades a person’s respiratory tract. As viruses take over cells in the sinuses and lungs, the body releases messenger molecules known as cytokines to trigger an immune-system response.”

Doctors say “Chevalier’s lungs weighed more than normal, suggesting they were saturated with fluid.  The liquid might have come from intravenous fluid pumped into Chevalier by hospital workers as they fought to resuscitate her, or it could have come from her own body.”

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