Thursday, May 24, 2018
Health

Second swine flu death confirmed in Pasco County amid 'mild' flu season

A second swine flu death in Pasco has been reported, health officials confirmed.

Pasco County Health Department spokeswoman Deanna Krautner said a man died Dec. 9 of complications from the H1N1 virus, which was dubbed the swine flu when it caused an epidemic in 2009 because it originated in pigs.

Only pediatric flu deaths are required to be reported to public health officials, so adult deaths are difficult to track, Krautner said. She did not release the man's age, hometown or whether he had underlying medical conditions.

"In two cases, someone let us know," she said.

The recent case comes a little over a month after 27-year-old Holly Harrelson of Ridge Manor died of H1N1 complications. A mom of three young children, Harrelson had been ill with a 102-degree fever for several days before she went to the emergency room at Pasco Regional Medical Center in Dade City.

Steve Huard, spokesman for the Florida Department of Health in Hillsborough County, said H1N1 is the predominant strain of flu circulating. Although Hillsborough has seen only mild flu activity, he encouraged residents to get vaccinated, noting that this year's flu shot offers protection against H1N1.

Krautner said she was unaware of any shortage of flu vaccine in the area and said it's not too late to get one. It takes about two weeks for the vaccine to become fully effective.

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