ST. PETERSBURG – The Pinellas County Health Department was notified Tuesday, Sept. 8, of an H1N1 (swine) flu death in Pinellas County.
A 20-year-old male who had other underlying health conditions is the county’s third H1N1 (swine) flu fatality.
As of Sept. 2, there have been 70 H1N1 (swine) flu fatalities reported in Florida.
H1N1 (swine) flu was first detected in people in the United States in April 2009. This virus is spreading from person-to-person worldwide, probably in much the same way that regular seasonal influenza viruses spread.
In June 2009, the World Health Organization (WHO) signaled that a pandemic of H1N1 (swine) flu was underway.
“We urge everyone to take precautions to protect themselves against the flu,” said Claude Dharamraj, M.D., director of the Pinellas County Health Department. “H1N1, or swine flu, continues to spread just as the fall flu season is almost here.”
The symptoms of H1N1 (swine) flu virus in people include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. A significant number of people who have been infected with this virus also have reported diarrhea and vomiting.
A novel H1N1 (swine) flu vaccine is currently in production and should be ready by October 1 for the populations at highest risk, which include pregnant women and infants and children ages six months to four years. A separate vaccine will also be available to protect against seasonal flu.
Take these everyday steps to protect yourself and others against the flu:
Cover your nose and mouth with a tissue when you cough or sneeze. Throw the tissue in the trash after you use it to avoid spreading viruses.
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 to lessen the spread of germs.
Try to avoid close contact with sick people.
If you are sick with a flu-like illness, the Centers for Disease Control recommend that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone, except to get medical care or for other necessities. (Your fever should be gone without the use of a fever-reducing medicine.) Keep away from others as much as possible to avoid making others sick.
For more information about the H1N1 (Swine) flu virus, go to:
The Pinellas County Health Department, www.pinellashealth.com or call the H1N1 (Swine) flu information line at 727-824-6964.
The Florida Department of Health’s information line, 877-352-3581, is staffed from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily and has messages in English, Spanish and Kreyol. There are recorded messages around the clock.