The Philadelphia Department of Public Health's Division of Disease Control is reporting the first swine flu-related death in the city. A 26-year-old Philadelphia woman succumbed to complications of novel H1N1 influenza on Sunday, becoming the first Philadelphian and second Pennsylvanian to die of swine flu-related causes.
The public health department would not release any additional information about the woman's death, except to say she was "very ill" when hospitalized.
Last Thursday, a 55-year-old Berks County woman became the first Pennsylvanian to die of complications related to the illness. Seventy swine flu cases have been confirmed to date in Philadelphia, with 11 cases still under investigation. The Philadelphia woman is the 29th confirmed swine flu-related death nationwide.
To date, this new flu strain has proven to be far less lethal in the United States than the common seasonal flu, which kills an estimated 30,000-plus Americans each year.
"The sad loss of this 26-year-old woman reminds us that influenza is a serious disease that can cause complications in any age group," Pennsylvania Secretary of Health Everette James said in a released statement. "It also demonstrates that the 2009 A/H1N1 flu strain continues to spread and cause illness in the commonwealth, where we now have 361 confirmed cases."