For Immediate Release:
June 1, 2009
First New Flu A H1N1 Death Confirmed in Los Angeles County
Overall cases of new flu decreasing
LOS ANGELES – The Los Angeles County Health Officer, Dr. Jonathan E. Fielding, has confirmed the first death in an individual infected with the new flu A H1N1 (previously called “swine flu”) in Los Angeles County. The decedent, a middle-aged woman with underlying health problems, passed away in late May.
“Every death is regrettable, but given the number of H1N1 cases in Los Angeles, identifying the new H1N1 strain in someone who passed away with severe respiratory disease is not unexpected. This flu strain continues to follow a pattern similar to regular seasonal flu,” said Jonathan E. Fielding, MD, MPH, Director of Public Health and Health Officer. “The overall number of confirmed new flu A H1N1 cases is decreasing. Most cases of this new flu in the United States have been moderate to mild, similar to the regular, seasonal influenza that we already know. You can minimize the spread of this new virus by following the same precautions that you normally follow to avoid getting a contagious respiratory disease. And remember to be immunized against seasonal influenza this coming fall.”
Regular seasonal flu is responsible for as many as 1,000 deaths in Los Angeles County each year, particularly in the elderly and those with underlying serous medical conditions.
Public Health’s recommendations to prevent flu include:
• Wash your hands frequently. Use hand sanitizer when you cannot get to soap and water.
• Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze.
• Avoid touching your nose, mouth, and eyes.
• If you or your child has flu-like symptoms such as fever, coughing, fatigue, or sore throat, stay home from work or school and recover. Do not return to work or school until one to two days after symptoms end. This will help prevent the spread of illness to others.
If you are sick with flu-like symptoms, you should care for yourself the same way you would with any illness:
• Stay home and rest.
• Drink plenty of fluids.
• Prevent spreading illness to others by washing your hands frequently and avoiding close contact to others.
For more information on the new flu A H1N1 ("swine flu"), please check the Public Health website at http://www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
Due to the high number of media requests, the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health will be holding a press conference at 11:30 a.m. THIS MORNING regarding the first new flu A H1N1 death. One-on-one interviews will not be provided beforehand. A Spanish spokesperson will be available.
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