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Sci Rep. 2013;3:1284. doi: 10.1038/srep01284.

Potentially-toxic and essential elements profile of AH1N1 patients in Mexico City.

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  • 1National Institute for Respiratory Diseases-Mexico, Mexico.


During spring of 2009, a new influenza virus AH1N1 spread in the world causing acute respiratory illness and death, resulting in the first influenza pandemic since 1968. Blood levels of potentially-toxic and essential elements of 40 pneumonia and confirmed AH1N1 were evaluated against two different groups of controls, both not infected with the pandemic strain. Significant concentrations of potentially-toxic elements (lead, mercury, cadmium, chromium, arsenic) along with deficiency of selenium or increased Zn/Cu ratios characterized AH1N1 cases under study when evaluated versus controlled cases. Deficiency of selenium is progressively observed from controls I (influenza like illness) through controls II (pneumonia) and finally pneumonia-AH1N1 infected patients. Cases with blood Se levels greater than the recommended for an optimal cut-off to activate glutathione peroxidase (12.5 μg/dL) recovered from illness and survived. Evaluation of this essential element in critical pneumonia patients at the National Institutes is under evaluation as a clinical trial.

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