1st H1N1 Flu Death in Fresno County

July 30, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
The H1N1 virus has taken its first victim in Fresno County. 28-year-old Chang Yang died Friday, and medical experts said underlying conditions may have caused the virus to be deadly. According to Health Department guidelines, Community Regional must take steps to make sure there is no contamination of the H1N1 virus in the hospital. Staff members who had close contact with Yang will be monitored for sickness.

The family of 28-year-old Chang Yang said they had no idea he was sick with the H1N1 virus. "He called me to get the medicine for him and like that day or night he passed," said Chang's mother-in-law Paj Hnuci Hauj.

We talked with his mother-in-law who said Yang did have a pre-existing condition. He gained nearly 200 pounds in a year and weighed more than 300 pounds when he died. "He was overweight. He was not sick a long time, like two days he had a fever."

Dr. Moreno with the Fresno County Health Department said, "People who do die from this H1N1 virus do have chronic medical conditions and as you mentioned obesity is believed to be one of the risk factors."

According to the Fresno County Health Department there are more than 1,200 outstanding lab tests for H1N1 in Fresno County. 32 cases are confirmed, 58 probable and 11 people are currently in Valley hospitals with the H1N1 virus.

Children's Hospital Director of Infectious Diseases Doctor David Pagatch said the entire population is at risk of contracting the H1N1 virus, however certain conditions can make some more likely to get it. "Those individuals who may have pulmonary problems, asthma, emphysema, other chronic diseases."

Chang's family said they are taking no chances, they have all been seen by a physician. "The doctor said it's okay now. Nobody has it. We had to take medicine to protect," said Paj Hnuci Hauj.

Medical experts expect H1N1 cases to increase this fall. They're advising everyone to get a seasonal flu shot and H1N1 vaccines will be available for those at high risk.

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County of Fresno Press Release:

In accordance with current Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidelines for Pandemic H1N1 Flu 2009, Department of Public Health staff identified close contacts and provided instruction regarding antiviral treatment and prophylaxis for those who are symptomatic or at high risk for complications of influenza infection.

"Department staff and I would like to convey our deepest sympathy to the family and friends of the deceased," states Dr. Edward Moreno, Fresno County Department of Public Health, Director and Health Officer. "Pandemic H1N1 Flu 2009 is circulating in our community and throughout the nation. Most cases of this illness have been of mild to moderate severity, but infection with this virus strain can be deadly, especially for children and young adults. Everyone should remain vigilant in the effort to reduce the spread of H1N1 and seasonal flu."

Residents should take the following steps to avoid becoming ill with the flu or passing it to others: Cover nose and mouth with a tissue or the corner of the elbow for coughs or sneezes. Throw the tissue in the trash after use.

Wash hands often with soap and water, especially after coughs or sneezes. Alcohol-based hand cleaners are also effective.

Avoid close contact with sick people.

Avoid social gatherings when ill or if medical conditions increase the risk for flu complications. Get immunized against seasonal influenza this coming fall.

The symptoms of H1N1 Flu are similar to the symptoms of regular seasonal flu and include:

Fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue.

Some people have also reported diarrhea and vomiting.

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