Health District confirms first H1N1 fatality - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Health District confirms first H1N1 fatality

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By Karen Cohilas - bio | email

ALBANY, GA (WALB) - An Albany area man has died from the H1N1 virus.  His death is the third swine flu death in Georgia. The man, who was in his 60's, had underlying health issues, and was hospitalized when he died Friday.

He's the first person from South Georgia to die from Swine Flu, the two previous deaths were in Cobb County. His death comes as health workers brace for a fall flu outbreak.

It's a day that doesn't necessarily surprise District Health director Dr. Jaqueline Grant, but it is a day she never hoped for.  She said, "Certainly it's not a pleasant day for us at all. We really, our condolences go out to the family of this gentleman."

A man in his 60's, with underlying health problems. Grant says those are the people most at risk for getting H1N1, and the most at risk for dying.

She said, "Those are the persons we are really concentrating on as far as who needs antivirals because of exposure or an early infection." She says if a person with a chronic health condition, pregnant woman or young child is exposed or exhibiting flu-like symptoms, they should immediately contact their physician.

And know this, a negative result on a rapid flu test, doesn't mean you don't have H1N1. If you have symptoms, you should ask your physician to treat you.  Dr. Grant said, "It's the constitutional symptoms that are important on this and not necessarily the diagnosis, especially not with the rapid test because we are seeing a lot of false negatives."

And remember, as always, that the best way to prevent the flu is to wash your hands. If you do get sick, stay home at least 24 hours from the last time you have a fever, without taking fever-reducing medicine.

While the seasonal flu vaccine will likely be available later this month or early September, a vaccine for H1N1 won't be ready until mid-October at the earliest.

Current information is available from your health department and online at www.southwestgeorgiapublichealth.org and www.cdc.gov/swineflu/

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