The death of a toddler in Massachusetts earlier this week underlines the fact that young individuals are particularly susceptible to the H1N1 virus. The nearly four-year-old child is the first to die during the autumn flu season this year, is however, the second child to die overall this year in the state due to swine flu.
According to Boston.com, Medical Director of the State Department of Health Dr. Lauren Smith said: “Death due to H1N1 is rare, but it does happen.”
“I understand that the death of the child is a tragic thing,” she continued.
Parents in Massachusetts and the rest of the United States are encouraged to pay particular attention to their children’s hygiene, including washing their hands more often than they perhaps normally would.
The toddler was not the only death in Massachusetts this week; an adult (age not specified) also succumbed to the H1N1 virus. This brings the Massachussets swine flu death toll to 17 this year.
While Dr. Smith maintains the influx of patients with flu-like symptoms is normal at this time of the year, special attention is being paid to ensure those with swine flu-like symptoms are treated appropriately.
The news of the two deaths in Massachusetts comes as North Carolina reported three deaths of individuals who had a drug-resistant form of swine flu. The three patients, all adults, were from different parts of the state and were treated in isolation at a hospital in Raleigh. A fourth patient, a woman, is currently still in treatment.
While doctors maintain that obtaining the swine flu vaccination is essential and state that the drugs used to combat the H1N1 virus are effective, health officials are reportedly watching the virus for mutations.
WRAL.com reports that Infectious Disease Specialist at Duke Medical Center, Dr. Cameron Wolfe, says mutations of the virus will not have an effect on the vaccination.
“The mutation is not expected to have any effect on the vaccine at all,” he said.
“So, the vaccine will still be very effective in protecting patients against this form of H1N1. If anything, it re-encourages us to encourage everyone to get vaccinated.”
58 people have died in North Carolina since the pandemic began earlier this year.
If learning more about how to take care of yourself, loved ones and others is important to you consider a health course at Creighton University online.
Image: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Tamiflu_pill_Roche.jpg, Author: andrew wales from berks, ukTags: death swine flu