Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Two dead and five hospitalized after mystery respiratory illness hits south Alabama

Two people have died and five others have been hospitalized by a mysterious respiratory illness in southeast Alabama, state health officials said on Tuesday.

All seven adults had been admitted to hospitals with symptoms including fever, cough and shortness of breath in recent weeks, said Alabama Department of Public Health spokeswoman Mary McIntyre.

McIntyre said it's unclear what's causing the illness but some of the seven patients also had the flu.

So far, one sample has tested positive for H1N1 influenza A, but it's not clear that that is behind the unusual illnesses.

There's no evidence of other kinds of flu, including the H7N9 strain that has caused illness and death in China, McIntyre said.