VAN WERT ‚?? Health officials suspect the H1N1 virus played a role in the death of a Van Wert County resident earlier this week. The death is the first in the region that is being attributed to swine flu.
‚??This is an influenza-related death and even though we don‚??t have a confirmation by conventional means, in all likelihood it was complications from an H1N1 infection,‚?Ě said Health Commissioner Dr. Paul A. Kalogerou.
The name of the individual, who died early Sunday, was not released. Kalogerou said the person was middle-aged and suffered from several underlying conditions, including diabetes.
Officials will not seek confirmation that the influenza was the H1N1 strain.
Swine flu has been blamed for 30 deaths in Ohio. About 3,000 Ohioans die from seasonal influenza every year, said Kristopher Weiss, a spokesman for the Ohio Department of Health.
He said the department was not aware of a death in Van Wert County.
The stricken person received both seasonal influenza and H1N1 vaccines, but had not developed immunity.
Officials are not considering the vaccinations as factors in the death, Kalogerou said.
Though the death is the first, two other juveniles from Van Wert have been recently hospitalized with suspected swine flu.
Kalogerou said one was taken to Lima and given IV fluids and discharged a day later. The second was taken to Fort Wayne, Ind., and spent a night in the intensive care unit before being released.
Officials continue to urge those in high-risk groups to get vaccinated. The high-risk population includes everyone up to age 24, pregnant women, health care workers, anyone who lives or works with children under the age of 6 months, and anyone through age 64 with underlying conditions, such as diabetes or emphysema.
They‚??re also preaching the old standbys, such as good hand washing and staying home when you‚??re sick.