Child's death due to H1N1 infection is Minnesota's seventh overall
The Minnesota Department of Health (MDH) announced today that a child from Hennepin County recently died from complications due to infection with the H1N1 novel influenza virus. The child, who had no underlying health conditions, became ill and died in late September. The Hennepin County medical examiner announced the cause of death today. Three of Minnesota's seven deaths related to H1N1 influenza have been in children under 9.
"Deaths in children are especially saddening. Our hearts go out to the family," said Dr. Sanne Magnan, Minnesota Commissioner of Health. "For most people, the H1N1 flu is not severe; however, we know that children are especially vulnerable to this new virus."
Of Minnesota's 327 hospitalized cases to date, 138 of them were children under the age of 9.
Children are among those groups for whom vaccine, when it becomes available, is recommended as the best protection against the H1N1 virus, according to Dr. RuthLynfield, state epidemiologist for MDH. "We expect H1N1 vaccine to be available in the coming months and we recommend that people get vaccinated to protect themselves against H1N1 novel influenza, especially those individuals that are at high risk for severe disease from H1N1 influenza."
Those for whom H1N1 vaccine is strongly recommended include:
-People who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age.
-Health care and emergency medical services personnel.
-People between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old.
-People 25 through 64 years of age who are at higher risk for 2009 H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
Eventually, health officials expect that there will be enough H1N1 vaccine - and seasonal vaccine - available for anyone who wants to be vaccinated.
While vaccination will be the best protection against influenza, until more people are vaccinated it will be 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.
For more information about influenza, please visit www.mdhflu.com or contact your health care provider.