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Texas confirms first flu death of US resident

 U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addresses the press as Centers for Disease Control acting director Richard Besser liste...
 In this photo taken Monday, May 4, 2009, Ashley O'Rourke, right, comments to a reporter about the closing of all the schools in the Lewisville School...

Sebelius CDC

U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services Kathleen Sebelius addresses the press as Centers for Disease Control acting director Richard Besser liste...

Swine Flu Schools

In this photo taken Monday, May 4, 2009, Ashley O'Rourke, right, comments to a reporter about the closing of all the schools in the Lewisville School...

Texas health officials on Tuesday announced the first death of a U.S. resident with swine flu, and said she was a 33-year-old schoolteacher who had recently given birth to a healthy baby.

The woman died early Tuesday and had been hospitalized since April 19, said Leonel Lopez, Cameron County epidemiologist.

Health officials stopped short of saying that swine flu caused the woman's death. State health department spokeswoman Carrie Williams said the woman had "chronic underlying health conditions" but wouldn't give any more details.

Lopez said the flu exacerbated the woman's condition. "The swine flu is very benign by itself," Lopez said. But "by the time she came to see us it was already too late."

The only other swine flu death in the U.S. was of a Mexico City boy who also had underlying health problems and had been visiting relatives in Brownsville, near Harlingen. He died last week at a Houston children's hospital.

There have been 26 other confirmed swine flu deaths, all in Mexico. Hundreds of cases of the disease have been confirmed in several countries, but mostly in Mexico and the U.S.

The teacher was from Harlingen, a city of about 63,000 near the U.S.-Mexico border. The school district where she worked announced it would close its schools for the rest of the week, though officials said anyone who might have contracted the disease from her would have shown symptoms by now.

The teacher was first seen by a physician April 14 and was hospitalized on the 19th. The woman delivered a healthy baby while hospitalized and stayed in the hospital until her death, said Lopez, who declined to give further details about the baby.

Doctors knew she had a flu when she came in, but did not know what kind, Lopez said. The area is undergoing a Type A influenza epidemic right now, of which the swine flu is one variety, he said. She was confirmed to have swine flu shortly before she died, he said.

Swine flu shouldn’t close schools unless so many students or teachers get sick that the institutions can’t function, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said, reversing earlier advice.

The agency Tuesday changed its recommendation that schools consider closing if they suspect swine flu. That advice led to the closure today of at least 726 schools in 24 states and the District of Columbia, keeping about 468,000 students out of class, according to the U.S. Education Department.

The Atlanta-based CDC now says sick students should stay home and shuttered schools should reopen. The original recommendation was made before the virus had spread widely in the U.S. with symptoms usually no more severe than seasonal flu, said the CDC.


Updated : 2021-06-22 10:11 GMT+08:00