A Wisconsin medical expert says public health agencies will have to change their approach, now that a child has died from swine flu. An adolescent from Milwaukee died on Monday. Officials did not release the person’s age or gender, but they did say the child had none of the underlying medical conditions that often put people at risk for the flu. It’s Wisconsin’s third swine flu death, and all of them were from Milwaukee.
Richard Olds, the chairman of medicine at the Medical College of Wisconsin, says it’s scary that somebody so young died from influenza. He says the H1N1 virus is attacking a different segment of Americans, and health care workers must act faster to test patients and give them anti-viral medicines. Olds says many who’ve died from the new flu strain probably didn’t get antiviral drugs until their diseases had deeply progressed. And he says hospitals must get their flu tests processed within 24 hours.
Wisconsin had just over 3,400 confirmed swine flu cases as of Tuesday. About 2,100 of them are in Milwaukee. It was declared a pandemic last week, but the public’s concern appears to be getting smaller because death rates have been relatively low compared to other flu strains during a normal winter.
UPDATE: WSAU reports another child has succumbed to H1N1. The middle school aged child in Marathon County reportedly had some underlying health problems that may have contributed to the death.