Coconino County reports first Flagstaff H1N1 death
FLAGSTAFF, Ariz. - According to Coconino County Health Department (CCHD) officials, an adolescent from northern Arizona, who died last week, tested positive for the H1N1 (swine) flu virus. The young man, who had underlying health conditions, was hospitalized in Flagstaff.
This is the first death in Coconino County of complications from the H1N1 virus. There have been a total of 10 confirmed cases of H1N1 flu in Coconino County and 729 statewide. The Arizona Department of Health Services reports a total of nine deaths associated with this illness.
The symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu are similar to the symptoms of seasonal flu and include fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people have reported diarrhea and vomiting in addition to the respiratory symptoms associated with swine flu. Like seasonal flu, swine flu may cause a worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
Health officials advise individuals who develop mild influenza-like-illness (ILI) (fever with either cough or sore throat) to stay at home, to get lots of rest and drink plenty of fluids. Persons who experience more serious symptoms and need to seek medical care should contact their health care providers to report illness (by telephone or other remote means) before seeking care at a clinic, physician's office, or hospital. Those with severe symptoms and who have difficulty breathing or shortness of breath or are believed to be severely ill should seek immediate medical attention.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), there are 27,717 probable and confirmed cases of H1N1 (swine) flu reported in the U.S. with at least 127 deaths. The CDC has indicated that this case count is an underestimate of the actual number of cases and estimates that there have been at least 1 million cases of pandemic H1N1 (swine) flu in the United States.
On June 11 the World Health Organization raised the worldwide pandemic alert level to Phase 6. A Phase 6 designation indicates that a global pandemic is underway.
WHO's decision to raise the pandemic alert level to Phase 6 is a reflection of the spread of the virus, not the severity of illness caused by the virus. It's uncertain at this time how serious or severe this novel H1N1 pandemic will be in terms of how many of those infected will develop serious complications or die from novel H1N1 infection.
Historically, pandemics have come in multiple waves with the second wave causing more illness. Because experience with this virus so far is limited and influenza is unpredictable, the Coconino County Health Department is encouraging citizens to make plans for the upcoming flu season.
Information about how to prepare is available at
www.coconino.az.gov/health and at www.pandemicflu.gov/plan/tab3.html.
Call the CCHD Flu Information Line (928) 679-7300 or visit www.coconino.az.gov/health for updated information.