A Waterbury woman is the first person in Connecticut to die of H1N1 swine flu.
The state Health Department has not released the person’s name but said she is over 60 and had underlying medical problems, including muscle disease and diabetes, that put her at higher risk for complications of influenza.
She was hospitalized at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury for a short time before succumbing to the virus Tuesday morning. It was confirmed Wednesday morning that she had swine flu.
“Our hearts go out to this person’s family and friends,” DPH Commissioner Dr. J. Robert Galvin said in a news release. “Though the cases of H1N1 flu in Connecticut have largely been mild, this death underscores the seriousness of influenza and the devastating impact it can have.”
Connecticut has had 397 swine flu cases. In addition to the death, the state department confirmed 40 additional cases of H1N1 flu Wednesday. As of Tuesday, New Haven county had 67 cases, the most of any county in the state. Greenwich has had the most cases but the state has not released which towns the 40 cases from Wednesday are in.
One of the new cases is in West Hartford, according to the West Hartford Public School’s Web site.
A student at Braeburn Elementary School developed symptoms while out of state and will be staying home until the symptoms have been gone for at least 24 hours.
“Illness from H1N1 influenza continues to occur in Connecticut, with most people experiencing only mild illness,” Galvin said. “It is not unexpected, however, that the infections have caused serious illness, including death.”
The World Health Organization says the H1N1 virus is responsible for at least 117 deaths worldwide, mostly in Mexico.
Approximately 36,000 people die due to seasonal influenza in the United States.