Placer woman dies from H1N1 virus

By: Michelle Miller-Carl Journal News Editor
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A Rocklin woman has become the first Placer County resident to die while infected with H1N1 flu virus. The middle-aged woman died July 5 in a hospital outside the county, according to health officials. The woman had health problems prior to contracting the virus, so it is unknown if the flu contributed to her death, said Mark Starr, director of community health for Placer County. H1N1, previously called “swine flu” is now considered a pandemic by the World Health Organization. “It’s in the community. People who are getting flu in the middle of summer are now getting this new flu,” Starr said. “We don’t have seasonal flu right now that’s going around.” This case brings the total number of reported H1N1 cases in Placer County to 13. There have been 3,168 cases reported in California with 55 deaths. Most cases have been considered “mild to moderate” and patients have recovered. “There’s a bit of complacency out there, as there is about seasonal flu every year, but this can be a serious disease in some people,” Starr said. Those who are pregnant, have immunosuppression conditions such as HIV, or those with certain chronic diseases such as asthma, diabetes and heart disease have been known to have a higher risk for complications from H1N1 and the seasonal flu, Starr said. To help reduce the spread of flu, county health officials recommend you: - Cover your cough with your sleeve or a tissue so as not to spread germs - Wash your hands often with soap and water, especially after you cough or sneeze. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective. Avoid touching your eyes, nose, or mouth. - Avoid close contact with people who are sick, and stay home when you are sick (fever and cough or sore throat) to avoid infecting others.