(News) First swine flu death in Indiana 

Indiana now has its first fatality related to the swine flu H1N1 virus and more than 270 reported cases of the virus.

State Health Commissioner Judy Monroe, M.D. reported Friday, July 10, that a 19-year old male died July 5 in a Dearborn County hospital. The victim's sister, who is also suffering from complications from the virus, remains hospitalized. Since the H1N1 virus was first identified in April, there have been 170 deaths in the U.S.

"I would like to extend my sympathies to the family for their loss," said Dr. Monroe. "We know the virus is still circulating in the state, and we have been concerned that there would be fatalities. Influenza always has the potential to cause serious disease or even death."

"The death of this individual does not change our message to the public, which is to practice normal precautions to avoid influenza and other respiratory diseases. If you have milder symptoms of influenza, we advise you to stay home and contact your health care provider for advice," said Dr. Monroe.

Earlier this past week, the Indiana State Department of Health reported a total of 273 confirmed cases of the pandemic H1N1 flu in the following counties:

Allen (7)

Boone (1)

Clark (1)

Daviess (1)

Elkhart (3)

Hamilton (8)

Hendricks (3)

Johnson (2)

Lake (110)

Madison (1)

Marion (106)

Monroe (3)

Porter (11)

Putnam (3)

St. Joseph (4)

Tippecanoe (7)

White (2)

On the same day as the first Indiana fatality associated with the virus, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius announced the availability of $7,266,971 in federal grants to help Indiana prepare for the 2009 novel H1N1 flu virus and the fall flu season. The grants were funded by the recent supplemental appropriations bill that was passed by Congress and signed into law by President Barack Obama on June 24, 2009.

"With flu season around the corner, we must remain vigilant and do all we can to prepare our nation and protect public health," said Secretary Sebelius. "These grants will give states valuable resources to step up their flu preparedness efforts."

Indiana is eligible to receive $5,400,873 in Public Health Emergency Response grants and $1,866,098 in Hospital Preparedness grants. A total of $260 million in Public Health Emergency Response Grants and $90 million in Hospital Preparedness grants will be distributed nationwide.

Public Health Emergency Response grants help state public health departments perform a variety of functions, including preparing for potential vaccination campaigns, implementing strategies to reduce people's exposure to the 2009 novel H1N1 flu and improving influenza surveillance and investigations.

In addition to the grants released Friday, the Obama Administration released a statement outlining the steps the federal government has taken to help prepare and protect Americans from the novel H1N1 flu.

In May of this year, HHS distributed 11 million treatment courses of antivirals to states, territories and tribes to fight the H1N1 influenza outbreak. Also in May, HHS invested more than $1 billion to produce bulk supplies of key vaccine ingredients as part of the process to develop and test a potential H1N1 vaccine.

The Administration has upgraded and expanded www.flu.gov, which includes guidance that community leaders and the American people need to prepare for, prevent, and respond to the H1N1 flu virus.

The Indiana State Department of Health reports any new confirmed cases of H1N1 each Thursday. For more information and updates on the swine flu H1N1 virus in Indiana, go to www.IN.gov/flu.

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