TORONTO — All cases of Tamiflu resistance are not created equal. So while the first three instances of swine flu infection with Tamiflu-resistant viruses were reported in the past week, it was Number 3, not Number 1 that put influenza experts on edge.
Public health authorities in Hong Kong announced Friday they have found a case of Tamiflu resistance in a woman who hadn't taken the drug. That means she was infected with swine flu viruses that were already resistant to Tamiflu, the main weapon in most countries' and companies' pandemic drug arsenals.
The two earlier cases, reported from Denmark and Japan, involved people who had been taking the medication. While always unwelcome, that type of resistance is known to occur with seasonal strains and may be less of a threat to the long-term viability of this key flu drug.
Here is what the CDC and the WHO have not been forth coming on:
But the Hong Kong case was different. A 16-year old girl travelling from San Francisco was stopped in Hong Kong's airport in mid-June after setting off a fever detection device.
She was taken to hospital where she tested positive for swine flu. She had not been taking antivirals and declined to be treated with the drug. She was kept in isolation until she recovered.
The young girl was in San Fransisco, so you have to ask, one, what about the passengers on the plane and two, was she infected while here in the United States?