HONOLULU – The Hawai‘i State Department of Health (DOH) has confirmed novel H1N1 influenza infection in an adult male in his 50s who died at Tripler Army Medical Center on O‘ahu. This brings the total number of deaths in Hawai‘i with laboratory confirmed 2009 H1N1 Influenza to 11.
The O‘ahu resident had a number of underlying medical conditions that contributed to his decline and death. No further information about patient medical conditions before death or identification will be released due to patient privacy considerations and federal law.
“The patient had multiple, additional co-morbidities and these conditions were contributing factors to his death,” said Dr. Sarah Park, Chief of the Disease Outbreak Division and State Epidemiologist. “We are continuing to monitor critical case testing and focused clusters to help identify if this pandemic virus changes into something that causes more severe disease.”
Similar to what has been observed nationally, underlying conditions such as obesity, smoking, asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and respiratory difficulties have been contributing factors in novel H1N1-related hospitalizations and deaths in Hawai‘i.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has information at cdc.gov/h1n1flu/pregnancy/ for pregnant women, who may also be at increased risk for complications from H1N1 influenza infection.
The public is urged to take the following steps to prevent spreading illness to others:
On October 5, Hawai‘i received its first shipment of H1N1 vaccine. DOH continues to place vaccine orders according to demand and allocation numbers. Initially, priority groups will be the first to receive the vaccine, and as more becomes available and demand is met, the entire public will be encouraged to receive the vaccine.
In accordance with CDC guidelines, the DOH will give first priority to the following high-risk groups for H1N1 vaccination: