Santa Cruz Co. Reports First H1N1 Death

July 9, 2009 6:58:12 PM PDT
Santa Cruz County has reported its first death from the H1N1 flu virus. There have been 24-deaths statewide. Meanwhile, public health officials are bracing for a resurgence of the stubborn virus this fall.

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Just a few months before the start of the fall flu season the US government officials announced a 350 million dollar preparedness campaign to try to curb a major outbreak of the H1N1 virus otherwise known as the swine flu.

Kathleen Sebelius said, "We do not know exactly how this virus will present during the fall flu season. But our surveillance efforts have led scientists to believe the impact of this virus could worsen in the fall or earlier, when schools start to open."

So far about one million people have been infected in the US with the H1N1 virus and at least 170 have died, but most haven't suffered severe symptoms. Worldwide, just more than 400 people have died from this flu strain, but calling into the 'flu summit' from Italy, President Barack Obama said the weakness of the spring strain isn't necessarily a sign of what is to come in the next few months.

"The potential for a more serious outbreak in the fall is looming," said President Obama.

Part of the government's plan is to create a flu vaccine specific to the H1N1 virus. That would be administered separately from the common flu vaccine. Many companies are currently working to develop vaccines, and the government hopes to have one approved by mid-October.

The Obama administration says the vaccine will be offered first to school children, young adults, pregnant women, and health care workers who are more likely to be exposed to the virus.

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