First confirmed H1N1 death in Indiana

Press release from the Indiana Department of Health:

State Health Commissioner Reports Pandemic H1N1 Influenza Death in Indiana

State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe, M.D. today reported a resident of Dearborn County has died from complications related to pandemic H1N1 influenza, the first death linked to this novel flu virus in Indiana.

The Indiana State Department of Health will not be releasing any other information about the individual for confidentiality reasons. State health officials are working closely with the Dearborn County Health Department to investigate the case and have already communicated with all close contacts and health care providers who might have been exposed to the case.

“I would like to extend my sympathies to the family for their loss,” said Dr. Monroe. “We know the virus is still circulating in the state, and we have been concerned that there would be fatalities. Influenza always has the potential to cause serious disease or even death.”

Nationally, there have been 170 deaths related to the pandemic H1N1 flu. Each year, about 36,000 people in the United States die from complications of seasonal influenza.

“The death of this individual does not change our message to the public, which is to practice normal precautions to avoid influenza and other respiratory diseases. If you have milder symptoms of influenza, we advise you to stay home and contact your health care provider for advice,” said Dr. Monroe.

If you become ill with influenza-like symptoms, you may want to contact your health care provider. These symptoms are similar to normal seasonal influenza. They include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, and muscle aches. Some people have also reported runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea. Symptoms appear 2-7 days after exposure. People generally can spread influenza viruses from 1-2 days before symptoms start to about 7 days after.

Because people can spread influenza virus before they become ill, Dr. Monroe says it is extremely important to always practice the three C’s:

  • Clean – properly wash your hands frequently
  • Cover – cover your cough and sneeze
  • Contain – contain your germs by staying home if you are sick

Dr. Monroe says if you become ill and experience difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, or severe or persistent vomiting, seek emergency medical care. Parents should seek immediate medical attention for children if they show the following warning signs: fast breathing or difficulty breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held, fever with a rash, or symptoms that improve and then become worse.

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