Swine flu suspected in death of Breckenridge boy
Summit County correspondent
Aspen, CO Colorado
BRECKENRIDGE, Colo. – The death of a 13-year-old Breckenridge boy Wednesday may have been connected with swine flu infection.
Bryan Pineda, 13, was found unconscious at his home Wednesday and later died at Breckenridge Medical Center.
On Friday he tested positive for Type A flu, and “currently 99 percent of positive Type A flu tests are thought to be 2009 H1N1 (swine) influenza,” according to a joint statement from Summit County Public Health and Coroner Joanne Richardson.
To date, nobody in Summit County had tested positive for swine flu. But because seasonal flu doesn’t tend to hit until November or December – and H1N1 tests are prohibitively expensive ($298 per person) – health officials are assuming positive flu tests to be swine flu. Only people who are hospitalized are tested for H1N1.
An autopsy was to be performed today, though immediate results are unlikely to suggest cause of death.
“The district is devastated at this loss, and our hearts go out to the family of this young man,” Summit School District Superintendent Millie Hamner said.
Public health officials this week reported 11.5 percent of local students missing class because of illness. About 6 percent reported flu symptoms, while 5 percent reported symptoms involving sore throat and gastrointestinal problems – both of which have been reportedly connected with swine flu.
Summit High School Principal Drew Adkins said 105 students missed school Tuesday due to illness, with 46 reporting flu symptoms. That’s nearly 13 percent of the student body.
SHS Athletic Director Amy Raymond said in an e-mail that a gymnastics competition on Wednesday was canceled because six of seven team members were at home with the flu.
Statewide, two deaths and 170 hospitalizations this month have been attributed to swine flu. Both people who died had other health conditions that may have contributed to the deaths, according to a report in The Denver Post.
Swine flu symptoms are similar to those of seasonal flu, though younger people appear to be more susceptible to the virus. People with flu symptoms are advised to stay home at least 24 hours after the fever and symptoms have ended; and fever-reducing medicines have become unnecessary.
Symptoms of H1N1 flu include fever, lethargy, lack of appetite and coughing – and people with swine flu have reported runny nose, nausea, sore throat, vomiting and diarrhea, according to Centers for Disease Control.
Those exhibiting mild symptoms are advised to stay home and call their physicians rather than visiting doctors’ offices and possibly spreading the virus.
Summit County Public Health is working with the Colorado Department of Health and Environment on Pineda’s case, as well as ongoing 2009 H1N1 monitoring. For more information on the flu, visit http://www.flu.gov.
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