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Feb 4, 2016

Mysterious Deaths at the K.H.M.H. Linked to Influenza Virus?

Six persons died at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital between October 2015 and January 2016 due to unknown illnesses. The hospital, however, believes the deaths may be related to the influenza virus. Still yet, no epidemiological link has been found after testing.  The family of one of the persons who died mysteriously explains the unusual circumstances under which thirty-four year old Charleston Cleland Senior passed away. News Five’s Duane Moody reports.

 

Dr. Adrian Coye, C.E.O., K.H.M.H.

“The only thing that I can say that has been positive or that has come back recently positive and speaking with Doctor Figueroa is the confirmation that one of the samples that were sent confirmed what they call H3N2 which is one of the typical virus that is around.”

 

Duane Moody, Reporting

There are still no answers for the unexplained deaths of six persons at the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital.  Between October and November of 2015 four persons—three from Corozal, Toledo, San Pedro and one from Belize City and then two in January, died after entering the hospital with a severe case of influenza, diarrhea and vomiting.

 

Marvin Manzanero

Dr. Marvin Manzanero, Director of Health Services [January 29th, 2016]

“Actually when we did the investigation because what stands out is when people have the same signs and symptoms when the end case is death, I can tell you that of the four cases that was investigated last year, I can tell you that one of those cases was HIV positive, you have two of those patients who have had diseases for five to seven days and they didn’t show up to the health facility until they were very sick. So even in the four cases we had last year, none of them once you do the adequate background check, the same amount of time with the disease that they had.”

 

On January sixteenth, after spending twelve days in the hospital, thirty-four year old Charleston Cleland Senior died under similar circumstances. A postmortem exam says he died from double pneumonia and fatty liver.

 

Diana Daly

Diana Daly, Common-law Wife of Deceased

“About nine-twenty he started throwing up; he wasn’t feeling good. He drank water and milk and he kept throwing up green and yellow fluids from the stomach. I took him to the Karl Heusner and they treated him on IV. The doctor asked what was the last thing he ate and we told him a burger. They started to treat him for stomach flu, they treat him for food poisoning, stomach infection. I took him back on Wednesday and they admitted him. they decided to run tests for malaria, dengue and other flu symptoms and they treated him, they run tests and x-rays came back clean. Down the line we did an ultrasound and the ultrasound was saying he had a swollen liver. We did another x-ray and it said he had pneumonia and at the end of the day, the doctor came to me and say that she found something acute that the kidney had failed. They took him to the ICU. We went to do some tests at the medical for hepatitis A and B, HIV…everything came back negative and he was admitted in the medical ward upstairs at Karl Heusner and he was being treated from there. They didn’t know what was causing it.”

 

The Ministry of Health and the Karl Heusner Memorial Hospital have been investigating the questionable deaths of these persons. One sample sent to the Caribbean Public Health Agency, CARPHA returned positive for H3N2, a subtype of virus that causes the flu. In humans and animals, the virus has mutated into many strains. But H3N2 is increasingly abundant in seasonal influenza and contributes to a minute number of deaths worldwide.

 

Dr. Adrian Coye

“As you have seen around the world, we are seeing stranger things than ever. Even though we have been part of the investigation with the Ministry of Health, we have not seen any epidemiological link to say.”

 

Adrian Coye

Duane Moody

“The report came out last week Wednesday. Have there been any other deaths that have a similar pattern since then?”

 

Dr. Adrian Coye

“Not at Karl Heusner. Not that I know of. We have been actively doing the surveillance for this from last year. In fact we were the ones pickup up the cases from then and we were the ones who raised the flag saying maybe this could be something.”

 

K.H.M.H. C.E.O. Doctor Adrian Coye says that residents should adhere to best health practices during the flu season.

 

Dr. Adrian Coye

“The message has to be that if you are in a vulnerable group, there is access to the flu vaccine at any of the health centers. These flu vaccines are able to deal with most of the common viral illnesses that we call flu. Of course, the other thing is that if you are getting flu symptoms and getting unwell quickly, then you should seek hospital attention and that is the only way when earlier they can introduce maybe antiviral medication, etc. Again, it is not to say that this is an epidemic of something, but it is the regular flu season. These viruses are there and so we have to do the things to protect us—the proper hand washing, the cough etiquette and things like that.”

 

Duane Moody for News Five.

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