Racine County's first swine flue death was reported today by the City of Racine Health Department.
No information about the individual's name, sex, age, race or residence are being released, "out of respect for the family and patient confidentiality laws," according to a release by the health department.
So far this year, there have been 31 swine flu deaths reported in Wisconsin, with 11 of them last week alone. The most recent were in Dane, Jefferson, Kenosha, Marathon, Oconto, Ozaukee, Portage, Racine and Waupaca counties. Dane and Portage each reported two.
“For most people, the 2009 H1N1 flu is not severe," said Health Officer Marcia Fernholz. "However, we know that the virus can be especially dangerous for children, individuals with compromised immune systems and those with chronic health illnesses. We expect more H1N1 vaccine to be available in the coming weeks. We recommend that those individuals who are at high risk for severe disease from H1N1 influenza get vaccinated to protect themselves against H1N1 when vaccine becomes available.”
Health officials expect that eventually there will be enough H1N1 vaccine – and seasonal vaccine – available for anyone who wants to be vaccinated.
The county's third flu vaccination clinic is being held this Friday, Nov. 20, at Case High School, from 5 to 8 p.m. Details here.
The Health Department adds: While vaccination will be the best protection against influenza, until more people are vaccinated it is important for everyone to continue the basic protection and prevention measures: stay home if you are ill; cover your coughs and sneezes with a tissue or with your sleeve, not with your hands; wash your hands thoroughly and frequently; and stay healthy by getting plenty of rest, eating healthy food and exercising.
People who develop significant flu symptoms or those with flu symptoms who are at risk for severe flu or flu complications are advised to consult their health care provider promptly. Uninsured individuals experiencing influenza-like symptoms wishing to receive a visit for flu-related care can call 2-1-1 or their local public health agency to locate a provider. For more information about H1N1 influenza and vaccination clinic dates, times and locations, visit the state's pandemic website, or call 2-1-1, or your local health department.
Caledonia/Mt. Pleasant Health Department
City of Racine Health Department
Western Racine County Health Department