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Health Department Reports Pennsylvania's First Death Due to 2009 Novel Influenza A/H1N1 Virus
Date:6/4/2009

Public Urged to Take Same Steps They Would During Any Flu Outbreak

HARRISBURG, Pa., June 4 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The first death in Pennsylvania associated with 2009 Novel Influenza A/H1N1 was reported today in Berks County. Currently, the state has 269 confirmed cases and 101 probable cases of illness due to this virus. Nationally, there are 11,054 confirmed cases of A/H1N1 and 18 related deaths.

"The death of this 55-year-old woman is a sad reminder of the complications that can result from A/H1N1 virus," said Secretary of Health Everette James. "We continue to monitor this outbreak and are taking every possible step to minimize the impact of the virus on the citizens of Pennsylvania."

James said planning for a potential pandemic is important not only in schools, but also in workplaces and communities. The department is prepared to initiate plans to assure Pennsylvania citizens receive a vaccine for A/H1N1 when one becomes available.

2009 Novel Influenza A/H1N1 has now been identified in 27 Pennsylvania counties and has resulted in five school closures. As previously announced in early May, the Department of Health recommends that schools and other organizations consult with state or local public health officials on a case-by-case basis before canceling events or closing.

As with any influenza, citizens are reminded to take the following steps to prevent spreading illness to others:

  • Stay home when you are sick;
  • Cough or sneeze into the bend of your elbow or a tissue, and properly dispose of used tissues;
  • Wash your hands frequently and thoroughly with soap and warm water, or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer;
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth;
  • Stay healthy by eating a balanced diet, drinking plenty of water and getting plenty of rest and exercise; and
  • Seek care if you have influenza-like illness.

The Department of Health Web site is being updated daily with the most recent Pennsylvania-specific 2009 Novel Influenza H1N1 information, including links to CDC recommendations and other information. For more information, visit www.health.state.pa.us.

    CONTACT:  Stacy Kriedeman
    (717) 787-1783


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SOURCE Pennsylvania Department of Health
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