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NSW: Second swine flu death recorded in NSW

Sun Jul 5 17:29:27 EST 2009

SYDNEY, July 5 AAP - A man with serious medical problems including diabetes has become the second person to die in NSW after contracting swine flu, health authorities say.

NSW chief health officer Dr Kerry Chant said the 57-year-old was diagnosed with the virus on Friday and died on the same day at Westmead Hospital, in Sydney's west. He has become the 11th person in Australia infected with swine flu to have died.

"Because of underlying medical conditions, the man was at greater risk of severe illness from H1N1 Influenza 09," Dr Chant said in a statement on Sunday.

Last Monday, a 45-year-old man, who also had other medical problems, died in Nepean Hospital after testing positive for swine flu.

The number of confirmed swine flu cases in NSW has more than doubled to 1,375 in the past fortnight.

There are currently eight people in intensive care - six men and two women aged from 18 to 49 - in NSW who have swine flu, Dr Chant said.

Of these, five have underlying risk factors including asthma, obesity, chronic lung disease and diabetes, but the remaining three have no clear risk factors.

Dr Chant said pregnant women and people with health conditions such as diabetes, respiratory, heart and renal disease should consult their doctor if they develop a flu-like illness.

"It is important that all members of the community, not just vulnerable groups, remain vigilant as community transmission of H1N1 Influenza 09 continues," she said.

"Both seasonal flu and H1N1 Influenza 09 can occasionally result in severe disease in people who have been previously well.

"For the majority of people influenza is a mild illness which can be managed at home.

"However, it is important that anyone with flu-like symptoms seek immediate medical assistance if they have moderate to severe disease or if their condition deteriorates."

In total, 160 patients with confirmed H1N1 have been hospitalised since the outbreak began in NSW.

As of Sunday, 1,375 people in NSW have tested positive for swine flu out of a national tally of 5,298.

However, NSW Health says this is only a proportion of infections in the community, as testing is no longer routinely recommended for mild or moderately unwell patients.