Clark County Reports First H1N1-Related Death

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The Southern Nevada Health District announced the first H1N1-related death in a Clark County resident. The patient is a 33-year-old man with no underlying medical conditions. He had been hospitalized since June 15 and died Sunday, June 28. The health district is not able to release additional details due to patient privacy concerns. To date, there are 80 confirmed novel H1N1 cases in Clark County, a majority of which have experienced mild illness.

“It is with sadness that we report another death related to the novel H1N1 virus. Unfortunately, it is not unexpected that we would see patients with severe illness and additional deaths related to this influenza strain,” said Dr. Lawrence Sands, chief health officer. “This patient had no underlying medical conditions that we are aware of and we know that this influenza strain tends to affect younger people. It is a sobering reminder that any strain of influenza can cause severe illness or death. We are fortunate that a majority of people who are infected with this strain or other seasonal influenza strains have mild illness and recover on their own without seeking medical care.”

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On June 12, the health district reported the H1N1-related death of a 70-year-old Las Vegas visitor.

The health district’s influenza surveillance program is ongoing and the agency continues to work with community partners and health care providers to monitor the current situation. Recently, the health district began a voluntary pediatric influenza surveillance program at four pediatric clinics to enable the health district to monitor the presence of influenza virus in the community during the summer and to enable early detection of its return in the fall. A majority of cases recently reported are generated by the pediatric surveillance program. None of these cases have been severe.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimates that more than one million Americans have already been infected with the new, novel H1N1 influenza strain. The new strain continues to spread throughout the United States. It is likely that localized outbreaks will continue to occur during the summer and the CDC expects that there will be patients who experience serious illness. In addition, the CDC notes that there will be more deaths associated with the novel H1N1 strain as with any influenza strain, however, a majority of people in the United States have experienced mild illness.

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