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3rd person in IE dies of swine flu

August 17, 2009 12:00:00 AM PDT
As children get ready to go back to school amid fears of a swine flu outbreak, there's news that a teenage boy has died from the swine flu in the Inland Empire.Three-and-a-half months ago, the H1N1 virus, or the swine flu, hit Southern California. There's been one confirmed fatality in Riverside County. A third person has just died in San Bernardino County.

And even though it seems like there's been a lull in the number of cases over the summer, officials say this fall the swine flu will be back.

"It didn't disappear like we expected it to this summer," said Deputy Health Officer Dr. David Herfindahl. "So we know when school happens and the children start getting back in close proximity, we will see increased cases of H1N1."

Health officials in San Bernardino County had to shut down six schools because of swine flu exposure. This year, they're hoping word of mouth helps keep the virus at bay.

"We are advising that schools and districts to communicate to their staff or family to use very good hygiene practices and stay home if you're ill," said Christine McGrew from the San Bernardino County School District.

The major symptoms are: fever over 100, coughing and a sore throat. But officials remind people there's no need to panic. Last year 38,000 people died from the flu only, 1,000 from the swine flu.

"We hope it's better and prepare for the worst, we know the virus has not mutated, so we do not expect to see it more dangerous or lethal than it was last year," said McGrew.

The first wave of vaccines for the swine flu should hit Riverside County by October, but there won't be enough for everyone.

Health officials are most concerned about those at risk. They say oddly enough the elderly have shown a lot of immunity towards the swine flu, they're most concerned about children under 5 years old, baby boomers and pregnant women.

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