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First swine flu-related death reported in
A St. Louis County man died today from medical complications
he developed after coming down with a severe case of the flu caused by the 2009
The man, age 44, is the first Missouri resident and the
eighth person in the United States to die after becoming ill with the 2009 H1N1
flu virus, commonly known as the swine flu. An autopsy has been scheduled to
determine a definitive cause of death.
The H1N1 virus, which has sickened more than 5,000 people
nationwide, has been confirmed in 20 patients in Missouri. In each of the other
Missouri cases, the flu symptoms have been relatively mild.
The St. Louis County man had traveled last month to Mexico,
where the H1N1 virus emerged. Health authorities said he returned on April 27
and became ill a week later. The man went to an urgent treatment center on May 9
and was admitted to a hospital the same day.
The H1N1 virus has been more virulent in Mexico than in the
United States. The World Health Organization reports that Mexico has attributed
at least 72 deaths to the new flu virus.
The deceased man’s family members have been contacted and
given anti-viral medication. In addition, all medical personnel who treated the
man have received anti-viral medication. Such medicines are most effective if
taken within 48 hours of the patient becoming sick.
“Our deepest condolences go out to this man’s family and his
friends,” said Margaret Donnelly, director of the Missouri Department of Health
and Senior Services. “We are working hard to determine why this case of flu
became so much more severe than other cases in Missouri.”
Staff members from the Missouri Department of Health and
Senior Services and the St. Louis County Health Department are continuing to
investigate the case to determine whether any underlying medical condition could
have contributed to the man’s death.
State and county health officials are working closely on the
investigation with the Centers for Disease Control and