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First Death From H1N1 Flu In El Dorado County

Ruzanna Harutyunyan's picture

A 52-year old El Dorado County woman has died after being hospitalized with the Novel H1N1 flu virus (also known as swine flu), El Dorado County health officials confirmed yesterday. Pre-existing medical conditions were a factor in the woman’s death. She is the first person in El Dorado County to die from the H1N1 virus. ”We would like to extend our sympathy to the family of this individual,” said El Dorado County Health Officer, Olivia Kasirye, M.D.

To date, there have been 19 confirmed cases of H1N1 infection including this one in El Dorado County; however only hospitalized cases are being tested at this time. The California Department of Public Health reports 892 hospitalizations from H1N1 flu virus and 92 related deaths statewide as of August 5th. Dr. Kasirye notes most of the cases of H1N1 infection in El Dorado County have been relatively mild. “The good news is that most people who become sick with H1N1 do recover. Unfortunately, for a smaller percentage of individuals with underlying medical conditions, the virus develops into a life threatening illness.”

El Dorado County officials continue to see unusual flu activity for this time of the year, and recommends the community continues taking steps to prevent catching the flu.

Everyday actions such as frequent hand washing and avoiding sick individuals are simple but highly effective in preventing respiratory disease, according to Dr. Kasirye. “Individuals who become sick with flu-like symptoms should stay home from work or school, and avoid contact with others. People who have severe flu symptoms, and especially those individuals who begin to have shortness of breath or difficulty breathing should speak to a healthcare provider right away. Pregnant women who become sick with flu-like symptoms are also advised to speak with their healthcare provider.”

Everyday steps to prevent H1N1 infection include:

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* Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

* Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth. Germs spread this way.

* Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw used tissue in the trash.

* Try to avoid close contact with sick people.

* If you are sick with flu-like illness, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone (without use of fever-reducing medicine) except to get medical care or for other necessities. Keep away from others as much as possible to keep from making others sick.

Officials from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have indicated that they have developed a new vaccine to prevent H1N1 infection, which is now being clinically tested. Distribution plans are being discussed to make sure that high risk individuals are able to receive the vaccine first.