Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Flu fells Waterbury woman: 'Underlying conditions' increased risks from H1N1 virus

WATERBURY — A Waterbury woman died of swine flu early Monday morning at Waterbury Hospital after a two-week hospitalization.
Dr. Steve Aronin, head of infectious diseases at the hospital, confirmed the death at an afternoon news conference Monday. He said the woman, who was described as in her early 40s, had underlying conditions that "would increase the risks" of swine flu, also known as the H1N1 virus. He would not comment on the specifics of those conditions.
The woman was admitted to the hospital June 1 with respiratory symptoms.
"We believe that the virus had likely been incubating within her system because she didn't appear to have the flu when she first came to the hospital," Aronin said in a statement released by the hospital.
The woman is the third Waterbury resident — so far the only three people in the state — to die after being diagnosed with swine flu.
Last Friday, a 6-year-old Waterbury boy with prior health problems that prevented him from attending school died at Yale-New Haven Hospital. Before him, a woman in her 60s, who also had previous ailments, died at Saint Mary's Hospital on June 2.
As of June 11, there were 637 confirmed cases of H1N1 in Connecticut, and as of June 12, 17,855 confirmed cases nationwide. There are 22 patients hospitalized with the virus in hospitals across the state.
"There are no other critically ill patients at Waterbury Hospital with H1N1 virus," Aronin said.
The Waterbury Hospital statement indicated that officials believe the laboratory-confirmed cases represent only a fraction of the likely number of swine flu cases in Connecticut, because people with mild symptoms do not seek doctor or hospital care, and instead recover at home.
Roseann Wright, director of the Waterbury Department of Public Health, said she has been working with local hospitals and the school system to educate residents about precautions to take to prevent contracting the virus. She said 18,000 pamphlets have been sent out to students at the city's schools.
Wright said she continues to emphasize to residents to "wash their hands, cover their coughs and stay home when ill." With city schools nearing summer vacation, she said this will eliminate the daily contact children have in schools and decrease some of the risk to children of acquiring the virus.
As of June 10, the sate Department of Public Health had reported 47 confirmed cases of swine flu in Waterbury. This was the state's third highest consolidation of cases, behind New Haven's 56 and Greenwich's 50. The health department will update this count Wednesday.
Originally appeared 6/16/09 on pages 1A and 7A in the Republican-American, Waterbury, CT ©

No comments:

Post a Comment