Two More H1N1-Related Deaths Reported In Massachusetts

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Two more deaths in Boston have been linked to H1N1 influenza (swine flu), bringing the total number of H1N1-related deaths to four in Massachusetts, the Boston Public Health Commission and the Massachusetts Department of Public Health announced today.

“Sadly, we have learned that two more Boston residents have succumbed to illness associated with H1N1. We extend our deepest sympathy to the families of both residents, their friends and other loved ones,” said Barbara Ferrer, executive director of the Boston Public Health Commission. “While most cases of H1N1 in Boston and nationwide have not resulted in death, this news demonstrates how serious influenza can be,” she said.

One Boston resident was a 52-year-old man who died at his home on June 26. Test results came back today indicating he was positive for H1N1 influenza. The second Boston resident was a 30-year-old man who was hospitalized on June 15 and died June 29. He is a probable case of H1N1 influenza; the confirmatory test for H1N1 is pending at the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta.

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On Monday, local and state public health officials announced that test results confirmed that the death of an 84-year-old Boston man on June 18 was linked to H1N1 influenza. The first reported H1N1-related death in Massachusetts was a 30-year-old Boston woman who died June 14.

Despite the four deaths, Dr. Ferrer said the evidence shows decreasing influenza-like illness in Boston.

In Boston, there have been 475 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu and 70 hospitalizations since spring when the virus first surfaced. Massachusetts has reported 1287 confirmed cases and 134 hospitalizations. By contrast, seasonal influenza causes 250,000 hospitalizations and 36,000 deaths each year nationwide.

BPHC and DPH officials said certain groups of people are at higher risk of complications from the flu. These groups include children under the age of 2, adults over the age of 65, pregnant women, and people with chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, and heart disease. These people should call their doctor immediately to discuss appropriate treatment if they develop a fever with a cough, sore throat, or runny nose.

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