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The Honolulu Advertiser
Posted on: Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Flu contributed to man's death

By David Waite
Advertiser Staff Writer

The second person to die in Hawai'i who tested positive for the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, was a man in his late 40s, a state health official said yesterday. The man died Friday at The Queen's Medical Center.

The man had chronic, underlying health conditions, said Janice Okubo, spokeswoman for the state Department of Health.

Privacy laws prevented Okubo from saying what the pre-existing health conditions were.

"But the influenza led to complications that ultimately caused his death," Okubo said.

The latest swine flu victim had no history of recent travel outside the state, meaning he apparently contracted the virus locally, Okubo said.

Hawai'i's first swine flu victim, a woman in her late 60s, died June 19 at Tripler Army Medical Center. She, too, had multiple, serious health problems.

"In this most recent case, influenza infection led to the complications that were ultimately the cause of death, and the patient's underlying conditions likely exacerbated the situation," said Dr. Sarah Park, chief of the Disease Outbreak Control Division and state epidemiologist.

Cases of H1N1 influenza have been identified on O'ahu, Maui, Hawai'i, Kaua'i, and Moloka'i, with the majority of cases confirmed on O'ahu. The DOH has recently seen a rise in influenzalike illness rates and has issued guidance on ways to prevent the spread of illness. The guidance is posted at www.hawaii.gov/health.

The DOH has confirmed more than 1,000 cases of H1N1 from May 5 to July 10. Of these cases, all but four people have recovered or are recovering at home with no complications, the state said.