NEW PORT RICHEY — A 35-year-old man who contracted the swine flu has become the first Pasco resident to die from complications of the H1N1 virus.
The man died a couple of weeks ago, and the state lab notified the Pasco County Health Department this week that he tested positive for the swine flu, spokeswoman Deanna Krautner said.
Information is not yet available on any underlying medical conditions the man might have had.
Because of patient confidentiality, the man's name, hometown and other identifying information has not been released.
"We are saddened by this news; our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends," said Dr. David Johnson, Pasco County health officer. "Like seasonal flu, H1N1 can be very serious and as a community, we need to continue to follow the recommended precautions to avoid spreading infections."
H1N1 swine flu can be mild or severe in different people and may cause worsening of underlying chronic medical conditions.
Health officials say people should continue to wash their hands frequently, stay home from work or school if they feel ill, and cover their mouths with a tissue or their sleeve if they are coughing.
Officials emphasize the most effective way to prevent influenza is by taking the vaccine. The one designed to prevent the swine flu should be available soon in Pasco County, Krautner said.