HOUSTON, Dec. 17 (Xinhua) -- Health officials said Wednesday at least one of the eight patients being treated for a mysterious illness at a Texas hospital has tested positive for H1N1, local media reported.
A total of eight confirmed patients, ranging in age from 41 to 68, were admitted to a medical center in Montgomery County in south Texas with flu symptoms, and four of them have died, the website of the Houston Chronicle reported.
Tests on Wednesday showed that one of the four people still hospitalized has H1N1, also known as the swine flu. Two others who are hospitalized have tested negative for flu. The results are still pending for one patient.
"So what we're doing now is we're retesting those patients who tested negative from the private lab," Montgomery County Medical Director Dr. Mark Escott told the Chronicle. "And those samples will be sent to the state and the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for confirmation testing."
The illnesses started with flu-like symptoms, then progressed to pneumonia and, in some cases, organ failure. They all initially tested negative for the flu, according to the report.
No details were available Wednesday on the dates of the deaths or hospitalizations. Two of the surviving patients are "very sick," and doctors are being advised to use extra precaution to prevent it from spreading, other media quoted unnamed sources as saying.
During the week ending Dec. 7, four U.S. states -- Texas, Louisiana, Alabama and Mississippi -- reported high levels of influenza-like illness, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.