First swine flu-related death in Nevada County; health officials urge vaccinations | SierraSun.com

First swine flu-related death in Nevada County; health officials urge vaccinations

Dave Moller
Sun News Service

GRASS VALLEY, Calif. and#8212; Nevada County’s first death from swine flu and#8212; an otherwise healthy, middle-aged woman and#8212; has local health officials urging other residents to get vaccinated.

and#8220;The patient had a severe, complicated case of H1N1 influenza,and#8221; said county Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Milman on Monday. and#8220;We were just notified.and#8221;

Milman said the county agreed with the family to not divulge the location of the 52-year-old woman’s home, or the hospital where she died.

and#8220;The risk is widespread, throughout the county,and#8221; Milman said. In a statement released to the press, the county’s Public Health Department said more could be hospitalized and die from H1N1 and normal seasonal flu between now and the end of April.

and#8220;This is what happens with influenza,and#8221; Milman said of the unexpected death. and#8220;That’s why we’ve been trying to educate the public.and#8221;

and#8220;You never know who it will hit severely. It could be anyone,and#8221; Milman continued. and#8220;It is a tricky virus.and#8221;

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Milman said the deceased woman was only in the hospital a few days and#8212; an illustration of the virus’ danger.

and#8220;We’re really urging everyone to protect themselves and their familiesand#8221; with flu shots, Milman said.

The county vaccinated 1,300 people last week, after hosting earlier clinics at area schools, and will host additional flu clinics in January, Milman said.

The locations of those clinics have yet to be determined. They will be published in The Union (and at TheUnion.com) as soon as they become available.

Local physicians also are receiving vaccines for their patients; contact your health practitioner for details.

A handful of swine flu cases had been reported in the county this year before the fatality, county Public Health Coordinator Patti Carter said.

Swine flu has been ruled the cause of 417 deaths in California this year, with 7,794 more people hospitalized with symptoms, according to the state Department of Public Health.

Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control has reported 1,567 swine flu deaths this year and another 35,309 people have been hospitalized.

Unlike seasonal flu, which is more severe among older people, swine flu has proven most dangerous for children and younger adults.

The county health department offered the following suggestions:

and#8226; Get both a seasonal and H1N1 flu vaccination when they are available.

and#8226; Children under 9 years of age need two doses of each vaccine to be fully protected. Some children have only received one and are not fully protected, Milman said.

and#8226; Use tissue when coughing or sneezing, and if none is available, cover your mouth with your elbow or sleeve. Do not cough into your hands.

and#8226; Wash your hands with soap and water often. Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are not available.

and#8226; Avoid touching eyes, mouth and nose, even if your hands are clean.

and#8226; Avoid contact with sick people.

and#8226; If you are ill, stay home and avoid work, school and other public activities until at least 24 hours after your symptoms have resolved.

For further information, call the county warmline at (530) 265-7258, or visit MyNevadaCounty.com, http://www.cdph.ca.gov or Flu.gov.