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Man dies from swine flu

A man died from H1N1 influenza, otherwise known as swine flu, on Wednesday, according to Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands.

Sands was unable to provide any specifics about the case but he confirmed that the man was 61 years old.

This is the second death from the H1N1 influenza in recent weeks.

The first death was announced last month.

He said, “H1N1 speaks to a particular subtype of influenza and the technically correct term is H1N1 influenza. Swine flu, while it makes for great headlines, this is not the same beast that we saw in 2009. We’re saying seasonal influenza and all influenza [are] serious.”

During the 2009 swine flu pandemic in the United States, about 59 million Americans contracted the flu with 265,000 of those individuals being hospitalized and 12,000 dying.

When asked if the Ministry of Health was worried about this becoming a pandemic, Sands said, “No. We certainly would like to remind people that these [flu] shots are available, but certainly those high-risk individuals should get them. As a matter of fact, all adults or all persons older than six months of age should get them.”

High-risk individuals include youth, the elderly, morbidly obese individuals and healthcare providers.

He added, “The majority of influenza cases expected are going to be H1N1 and we’ve now had 4,500 people take up the influenza vaccine. It is not enough and we strongly encourage persons to go and get their flu shots.”

The reported number of flu cases in The Bahamas ranges from 200 to 650 annually.

Flu season runs from October to May, and peaks around February.

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