Maricopa County Reports First H1N1 Related Death

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Maricopa County Department of Public Health and the Arizona Department of Health Services confirmed that a woman in her late 40’s with underlying lung disease died last week from complications of Novel H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu). This is the first death in Arizona associated with the new flu strain and the fourth in the nation.

“Unfortunately, we knew this was coming. Flu is serious, especially for those with underlying health conditions,” said Dr. Bob England, director of Maricopa Department of Public Health. “However, I need to emphasize that this death does not change our course of action here in Maricopa County.”

“The only way we get through any infectious disease is by working together - keep our kids home when they are sick, stay home from work when we are sick, cover our coughs and keep our hands washed. Sounds simple, but for some of us, these small actions can make all the difference.”

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The new H1N1 strain of swine flu has been similar to seasonal flu in symptoms, spread, and response to treatment. Typically, people with existing health conditions are at greater risk of serious health effects from influenza.

“While this marks the first death in our state related to swine flu, the case counts are expected to continue rising for some time to come.” said Will Humble, acting director of the Arizona Department of Health Services. “And while most illnesses from this new flu strain have been fairly mild, we must remember that influenza claims about 36,000 lives every year nationwide. That's why we urge people to take this outbreak, and the seasonal flu we see every year, very seriously.”

So far Arizona has confirmed 240 cases of Novel H1N1 Influenza (Swine Flu); 151 of those have been confirmed in Maricopa County.

Internationally, there have been more than 6,497 confirmed cases of swine flu in 33 countries. There have been 64 deaths in Mexico, four U.S. deaths and one each in Canada and Costa Rica.

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