Houston teen is latest to die of H1N1 flu


As the rate of flu infections in Texas remains among the highest in the nation, the virulent H1N1 form of the illness has claimed the life of a Houston teenager, officials said Friday. The teen, whose identity was not released, died Thursday, said Kathy Barton, spokeswoman for the city’s health department. Several other deaths related to the illness have also been reported, though the state doesn’t keep a tally of adult deaths.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, Texas is one of six states with high activity of influenzalike illnesses. Carrie Williams, spokeswoman for the Texas Department of State Health Services, said flu activity is “high and widespread, because it’s increased and because it’s been reported in multiple parts of the state.”

The other states classified as having high rates are Oklahoma, Louisiana, Missouri, Mississippi and Alabama. About 95 percent of the Texas influenza cases are H1N1, also known as swine flu.

Three men suffering from other health problems recently died from H1N1 in Harris County, according to Tricia Bentley, a spokeswoman for the county’s Institute of Forensic Sciences. The Northeast Texas Public Health District also reported three deaths in Longview. One flu death has been confirmed in Austin, Travis County officials said, and five flu victims were in critical condition at Seton Medical Center Austin. A Euless man in North Texas has also died of the disease, according to his family.

(The Associated Press)

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