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Swine flu fatality is isles' second


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POSTED: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

A man described as in his late 40s was confirmed to be Hawaii's second swine flu-related death within the last two months, according to the state Health Department.

The man, who had underlying medical conditions, died Friday at the Queen's Medical Center.

It is unknown how or where he contracted the virus. Janice Okubo, spokeswoman of the Department of Health, said she does not believe the man was hospitalized before he contracted the flu. He had no history of recent travels.

“;In this most recent case, influenza infection led to the complications that were ultimately the cause of death and the patient's underlying conditions likely exacerbated the situation,”; said Dr. Sarah Park, chief of the Disease Outbreak Control Division, in a news release. Health officials declined to release more information on the patient's condition before he died or the patient's name due to federal patient privacy laws.

Hawaii's first swine flu-related death was an Oahu woman in her late 60s who also had underlying medical conditions. She died June 19 at Tripler Army Medical Center.

State health officials confirmed more than 1,000 swine flu cases from May 5 to last Friday. Of these cases, all but four have recovered or are recovering at home with no complications.

Officials said one adult resident was hospitalized on Oahu last month and has since recovered. Another adult from Maui became ill while traveling to Washington state in May. The adult was hospitalized and recovered in Washington before returning home.

Health officials reminded the public to stay home when ill and to wash hands frequently or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer. Also, avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth. Cover your cough or sneeze with a tissue, and throw away used tissues.