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Philly Reports First Swine Flu Death

Here's the release from the Health Department:


The Philadelphia Department of Public Health's Division of Disease Control reports that one Philadelphian has died from complications of influenza A H1N1 (Swine) infection. This is at least the 29th death that has occurred in connection with the nationwide H1N1 influenza outbreak. The adult female, who was very ill when she was hospitalized, succumbed to complications from the illness on Sunday.

To date, 70 cases of novel H1N1 (Swine flu) have been confirmed in Philadelphia residents. Eleven probable cases are under investigation. All other residents with confirmed H1N1 influenza infection are either fully recovered or at home recovering.

Health Commissioner Donald F. Schwarz said, "Philadelphians who have the flu can help stop its spread by staying home from work or school for at least one week, and until they are completely well. Staying home when you are sick, and keeping ill children home from school and child care programs will help keep the flu from spreading, and protect the health of the community. Those who get the flu who have underlying medical conditions should be in touch with their regular medical care provider to consider receiving appropriate therapy."

The health department continues to monitor flu-like illnesses that are reported by hospitals, physician offices, and Emergency Departments around the city. Case counts are beginning to increase in our region, as they have in other parts of the country, affecting primarily school-age children and their close, household contacts. Hospitals and schools in Philadelphia are reporting increases in influenza-like illness, as are some workplaces. Most cases of H1N1 influenza in the U.S. are no longer associated with travel outside of the country. Rather, cases are now occurring as a result of person-to-person spread locally -- typical of the way flu spreads during the usual flu season.

This new strain of H1N1 influenza causes an illness very similar in both symptoms and disease severity to the typical strains of flu that circulate every winter. Each year an estimated 36,000 Americans die from complications of influenza and 200,000 are hospitalized.