A middle-aged Placer County woman became the first Placer resident to die while infected with the new H1N1 flu virus. She died July 5 in a hospital outside the county, and she had significant health problems prior to contracting the virus.
"We would like to express our deepest sympathy to the family of this patient," said Dr. Richard Burton, Placer County Public Health Officer.
Novel H1N1 flu - previously called “swine flu” - is known to be present throughout the world and, based on this spread, it is now considered to be a pandemic strain. As of July 16th, there have been twelve other cases reported in Placer County, and 3,168 cases have been reported in California, 55 of whom have died. Most cases have been considered “mild to moderate” and patients have recovered.
“H1N1 flu virus is present throughout our communities and our nation, and we anticipate that there will be more illness before this pandemic ends,” stressed Dr. Burton. There is no vaccine available right now to protect against novel H1N1 virus, however there are simple yet effective steps people can take to help prevent the spread of the flu:
- 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; and
- 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.
For more information about the H1N1 flu, visit the California Department of Public Health Web site, www.cdph.ca.gov, or call the CDPH hotline at 1-888-865-0564, available 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, to speak with a person.