First Swine Flu Death Recorded in Pennsylvania

A 55-year-old Berks County woman died from swine flu Thursday, the first death from the illness in the state, the Pennsylvania Department of Health said.

She had significant underlying health issues, a health department spokeswoman said.

The state has 269 confirmed cases and 101 probable cases of illness due to the virus, according to the health department.

"We continue to monitor this outbreak and are taking every possible step to minimize the impact of the virus on the citizens of Pennsylvania," Secretary of Health Everette James said.

Also Thursday, the School District of the City of York closed a third public school as a precaution due to flu-like illnesses. Classes were held Thursday at Hannah Penn Middle School, but the school district decided there won't be classes Friday and the school will remain closed through the end of the school year. On Monday, the school district announced the closing of McKinley Elementary and Edgar Fahs Smith Middle School for the remainder of the school year.

There have been 11,468 probable and confirmed swine flu cases in the U.S., including 770 hospitalizations and 19 deaths, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Thursday. The epidemic peaked in Mexico, the center of the outbreak, in late April, and now has spread throughout the Northern Hemisphere, the CDC said.

Health officials in Wisconsin, California, Illinois and Utah also reported deaths from swine flu on Thursday, and said all four patients had had other health problems.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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