First Swine Flu Death In Texas Confirmed At Houston Area Hospital

April 29, 2009

The first death from the swine flu in the United States has been confirmed in Houston.

 

Health officials have confirmed that a 23-month-old child from Mexico died of swine flu in a Houston area hospital on Monday.

 

The name of the child has not been released, nor has the name of the hospital in which the child died. The hospital will reportedly hold a news conference later today.

 

The boy, who had several underlying health problems, had traveled with his family from Mexico City to visit relatives in the Brownville area.

 

Swine flu was confirmed in laboratory testing done by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in Atlanta. The Texas Department of State Health Services was notified of the finding earlier today.

 

Preliminary investigation information indicated the boy had traveled with his family on a commercial flight from Mexico City to Matamoros, Mexico, on April 4 for a visit with relatives in

Brownsville. There he developed a fever on April 8, followed by other influenza-like symptoms.

 

The child was admitted to a Brownsville hospital a few days later and was transferred to a Houston-area hospital the following day by a medical transport service.

 

Though the illness investigation continues, state health officials said the boy would not have been infectious on the Mexico-to-Matamoros flight and that none of the boy’s known close contacts has subsequently become ill with influenza-like symptoms.

 

In a mid-morning press conference in Houston, Dr. David Persse with the Houston Department of Health and Human Services said there was no risk of infection by other patients at the hospital. He said the protocol followed by the hospital would have prevented the illness from spreading.

 

“The hospital was on top of this right from the beginning,” Persse said.

 

He added the family was still in the Houston area and did not appear to be infected.

 

“The family is healthy and well and (they) do not have any symptoms,” Persse said.

 

Persse also said the swine flu was “very easily spread” and recommended anyone exhibiting flu-like symptoms to practice “social distancing” and contact their physician.

 

Six other cases of the swine flu have been confirmed in Texas, three in Dallas County and three in Guadalupe County near San Antonio.

 

All 14 schools and two district facilities in the Schertz-Cibolo-Universal City Independent School District were closed following confirmation that two of the Guadalupe County cases were students from the district’s Byron Steele High School. All extracurricular activities were also cancelled.

 

Symptoms of swine flu are similar to those of regular or seasonal flu and include fever, fatigue, lack of appetite and coughing. Some with swine flu also have reported runny nose, sore throat, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.

 

Health officials say everyone should follow standard precautions to reduce the spread of any respiratory illness.

–         Stay home when you are sick to avoid spreading illness to others.

–         Cough or sneeze into the crook of your elbow or a tissue and properly dispose of used tissues.

–         Wash hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer.

InstantNewsWestu Staff

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