h1n1_flu_.jpgPress Release, Friday, February 7, 2014

Death of a Mono County Resident Related to the Flu

The Mono County Health Department was notified yesterday, February 6th, that the death of a Mono County resident is most likely related to an H1N1 2009 swine influenza infection.

Permission to release the following detailed information has been graciously given to us by Mrs. Cheryl McCoy. Our hearts go out to Mrs. McCoy and the McCoy family during this time of loss.

Mr. Lee McCoy, 69, of Bridgeport, died recently while on a fishing trip 300 miles off the coast of San Diego. Mr. McCoy boarded the fishing vessel on January 15th, and was reported to be well at the time. Others among the approx. 35 persons on board were already sick, or became sick with respiratory symptoms consistent with influenza. On Jan 21st, 6 days after sailing, Mr. Mc Coy became ill, and died 2 days later on the 23rd.  Testing on Mr. McCoy and others on board the vessel have come back positive for the 2009 H1N1 swine influenza, which is the main influenza strain that has been circulating so far this winter.

The timeline of events points to the probability that Mr. McCoy was exposed to the flu while on the ship. He had several underlying medical conditions, which made him more vulnerable to severe consequences from a flu infection. He had not been vaccinated with the seasonal influenza vaccine, which does include this H1N1 strain.

The California Department of Public Health reported today that 202 influenza related deaths have occurred in California so far this flu season. This includes 4 children, with 41 additional deaths still under investigation. By contrast, the total number of deaths for the entire 2013-13 flu season was 106. Flu activity continues to be high throughout the state, including the Eastern Sierra, and is expected to continue for some time.

Those at highest risk – the elderly, pregnant women, infants, and those with other health conditions – who show flu symptoms should contact their health care provider in order to get the most effective treatment. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches, and fever.

Getting a flu vaccine is still encouraged. It is not too late! Vaccine remains available from health care providers, pharmacies, and health departments.

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