Student who died of flu had respiratory conditions
September 25, 2009
SUMMIT COUNTY – The 13-year-old Breckenridge boy who died Wednesday after testing positive for influenza had pre-existing respiratory conditions including chronic bronchitis and asthma, which resulted in his death, according to a joint statement released Friday from Summit County Public Health and the Coroner’s Office.
Thursday’s autopsy indicates respiratory failure – likely due to flu – to be the preliminary cause of Summit Middle School eighth-grader Bryan Pineda Rosas’s death.
The results are consistent with seasonal and swine flu fatality, according to the statement.
Another child who has tested positive for Type A flu is hospitalized at St. Anthony Summit Medical Center and is in stable condition.
Friday, 14 percent of Summit School District students were absent – most with what their parents reported to be flu-like symptoms, said Sheri Rochford, administrative manager with public health.
Complete autopsy results on Rosas include a microscopic tissue exam and will not be available for several weeks, according to Friday’s statement.
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Because seasonal flu doesn’t typically hit until November or December, health officials are assuming 99 percent of positive Type A flu tests to be 2009 H1N1 (swine) flu, according to a previous report.
Swine flu currently presents no greater health risk than typical seasonal flu, and the “rapidly evolving situation” is being closely monitored, according to Friday’s statement.
“At this time, public health is not recommending the closure of schools, cancellation of athletics or activities due to the H1N1 virus. It has not been demonstrated that closing or canceling these events has any effect on the virus circulating throughout the community,” according to the statement.
Seasonal flu shots are available at Summit County pharmacies, but Summit County Public Health and High Country Health Care’s supplies have temporarily run out.
“We have received part of our shipment and used all of that, but we are expecting more,” Rochford said.
She said residents may find flu vaccines at Target, both City Markets, Safeway and the office of Dr. Christine Ebert Santos.
Robyn Butler, clinic manager with High Country Health Care in Breckenridge, said the demand for seasonal flu vaccines “certainly has been higher this year.”
“Patient awareness is definitely a lot higher this year because of H1N1,” she said. “Everybody needs to make sure to get their shots.”
It is recommended people receive both seasonal and H1N1 vaccines this year.
H1N1 vaccines are expected to be available in the county some time in October, with people at higher risk receiving theirs first. The vaccines are to be available to everyone by December. Rochford said it’s expected there will be plenty of the vaccine available.
Joanne Stolen, former Rutgers microbiology professor who teaches classes at Colorado Mountain College, said healthy people shouldn’t be afraid to receive vaccines.
“There are a lot of unsubstantiated rumors about vaccines,” she said, adding that the “flu vaccine is a killed virus.”
H1N1 has been affecting people under 20 more than older people.
“It may be that some older people have immunity against previous flus or previous flu shots, and over the years that might have given us some kind of partial immunity,” Stolen said.
Robert Allen can be contacted at (970) 668-4628 or firstname.lastname@example.org.