State official confirms first Walworth County swine flu death
Location: Walworth County Health and Human Services Building, W4051 County Road NN, Elkhorn.
Time: 2 to 4 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 10.
Locations: Rock County Health Department north office, 3328 N. U.S. Hwy 51, Janesville, and Rock County Health Department south office, 61 Eclipse Center, Beloit.
Times: 12:30 to 4 p.m. today and Friday.
ELKHORN State health officials confirmed Wednesday the first H1N1-related death in Walworth County this year.
The person died within the past seven days, but health officials declined Wednesday to release other details about the death.
The Walworth County victim is among five people in Wisconsin who died from swine flu in the past week, Department of Health Services spokeswoman Stephanie Marquis said. Two were in Douglas County and one each in Oneida and Outagamie counties.
The latest deaths bring the total number of H1N1-related deaths to 40 statewide since spring, Marquis said. Since Sept. 1, there have been 698 hospitalizations for H1N1 in Wisconsin.
Before the current outbreak of swine flu, the last reported Walworth County swine flu-related death was in 1988, when Barbara Ann Wieners became the last person in the U.S. to die from the disease.
Wieners was eight months pregnant when she and her husband, Ed, became ill in September 1988 after visiting the hog barn at the Walworth County Fair. Within a few weeks, Ed Wieners managed to recover from the virus, but his 32-year-old wife did not, dying four days after doctors induced labor and delivered a healthy girl.
Dr. Keith Konkol, director of infectious diseases at Mercy Health System, said those in priority groups should be the most careful and contact their physicians right away if they suspect they have swine flu.
"The vast majority of people are not dying," he added. "There have been 4,000 deaths in the United States, and there have been probably a couple million cases of H1N1."
Konkol said those with influenza symptoms should watch for confusion, shortness of breath and chest pains. Also worrisome is patients who recover from the flu and two days later get another fever, shake and chills.
“Some people recover for the flu, and the flu sets them up for a secondary bacterial pneumonia,” he said. “The flu you may get over it without any treatment at all. But if you come with a bacterial pneumonia, that needs antibiotic treatment.”
“If you have underlying conditions, at least give your doctor a call. If you're healthy and you have the other warning signs, call your physicians.”
Those most at risk are pregnant women, children up to 6-months-old and those with underlying medical conditions.
Pregnant women and people with underlying medical conditions are at risk because their immune systems aren’t as strong as they should, Konkol said. Young children likely have not been exposed to viruses and also have weak immune systems, he added.
Rock County officials this week continue to vaccinate residents with clinics until Friday. Walworth County officials scheduled the county’s next clinic for Thursday, Dec. 10.
Until this week, the guideline from Wisconsin officials was to vaccinate only pregnant women, caregivers of infants younger than 6 months, healthcare providers and emergency care personnel and people age 24 to 64 with underlying medical conditions.
Now, any person age 6 months to 24 years is eligible.