Local Health Officials Report First Columbus Death From Swine Flu

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A 20-year-old pregnant woman has become the first Columbus fatality in the swine flu epidemic. The woman died early this morning at Doctors Hospital.

Health officials would not release many details about the woman but they say doctors were able to deliver her child several days before she died. A spokesperson from Ohio Health says the baby girl was born premature, but is doing well and is currently at Childrens Hospital. Columbus Public Health Commissioner Dr. Teresa Long says pregnant women are more susceptible to the swine flu virus.

“One percent of the American population is pregnant at any one time, and six percent of the hospitalizations have been pregnant women. So yes, there is this disproportionate impact on pregnant women,” says Dr. Long.

Local Health officials say the woman was admitted to Doctors Hospital with flu-like symptoms, and that she did not contract the virus at the hospital. Columbus Public Health officials say they expect a swine flu vaccine to be available mid-to-late October. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention say a swine flu vaccine will be offered first to high risk groups – including pregnant women, caregivers of infants younger than six months, and health care providers who have direct contact with patients. Long says that means a swine flu vaccine won’t be available to everyone right away. Health officials report there have now been 65 hospitalizations and 3 deaths due to swine flu in Ohio.

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