Iowa deaths linked to the H1N1 flu have now hit 11. The Iowa Department of Public Health reported Wednesday that adults in Dubuque, Polk, Mills and Monona County have died from the H1N1 virus. Earlier in the week the health department announced the first confirmed death of a child from the virus.
The health department says all but one of the four people just announced had medical conditions that increased their risk of complications. Department medical director Patricia Quinlisk says people with medical conditions are at the highest risk for the disease, along with children.
One group that so far that doesn’t appear to be having problems with H1N1 is the elderly. Quinlisk says it seems the elderly, or people over 60 have some type of immunity that is making them less likely to get ill than children. Quinlisk says they expect to receive more H1N1vaccine soon and the highest risk groups will be the first to get vaccinated.
Until the vaccine arrives, she says you can help prevent the spread of the disease with proper hand washing, covering your coughs, and staying home if you are ill. For more information about H1N1 influenza, visit www.idph.state.ia.us/h1n1. You may also call the toll-free Influenza Hotline at 1-800-447-1985.