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4 more H1N1 flu deaths reported, including two boys

Updated Tuesday, Nov. 10, 2009 | 5:08 p.m.

Sun coverage

A 6-year-old North Las Vegas boy and a 17-year-old boy have died from H1N1 influenza complicated by underlying medical conditions, the Clark County Coroner's Office said today.

Two 54-year-olds, a man and a woman, also died from the novel H1N1 flu strain, the Southern Nevada Health District said. The woman suffered from an underlying medical condition.

Clark County has reported 24 deaths from H1N1 flu since the virus was reported in April.

A spokeswoman for the coroner's office said the 6-year-old boy who died Thursday afternoon at Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center succumbed to respiratory failure, H1N1 and sickle cell anemia.

Before the 6-year-old boy, all H1N1-related deaths had been of adults, the Southern Nevada Health District reported.

While H1N1 flu cases have been reported as widespread in 48 states, including Nevada, this fall, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention changed its reporting method on the so-called swine flu in late July. The federal numbers are confirmed through laboratory tests beyond clinics and doctors' offices.

While the 6-year-old's death is the first confirmed death of a Southern Nevada child, children suffering from H1N1 make up the highest numbers of patients reporting flu, federal health officials said.

Typically, seasonal flu, which has not appeared in the United States yet, has afflicted infants and people older than 65. In the case of H1N1, however, those under 20 years of age have suffered most.

State health official: Include all priority groups in H1N1 vaccine

The Nevada state health administrator has requested that the Southern Nevada Health District offer H1N1 injectable flu vaccine to all eligible groups.

In recent shot clinics at the health center, 625 Shadow Lane, and at a Henderson satellite clinic, the Southern Nevada Health District has refused to inject the novel H1N1 flu vaccine into those people 25 to 64 years old with chronic medical conditions, such as diabetes or asthma.

Administrator Richard Whitley of the Nevada State Health Division wrote a letter Monday to Dr. Lawrence Sands, chief health officer in Southern Nevada.

"Our records indicate that Southern Nevada Health District has a considerable amount of vaccine supply on hand (including FluMist). Best practices of other local health authorities indicate that FluMist can be utilized in school-based clinics or university and college settings," Whitley said in the letter.

"We request that you immediately identify your workforce's ability to vaccinate your community or your plans to reallocate to private providers in your area," Whitley wrote.

The health district reported Tuesday that as of Nov. 6, it had received 78,000 doses of the 2009 H1N1 influenza vaccine.

By Saturday, the health district said it had given more than 41,000 doses.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has recommended that people with chronic medical conditions be vaccinated, but the state believed that the Southern Nevada Health District had limited those who receive the injectable vaccines because of limited supplies. However, the health district acknowledged that it had 37,000 doses of both vaccines on hand.

The vaccine will be available at the Ravenholt Public Health Center, 625 Shadow Lane, as well as Foothill High School and Centennial High School from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday.

Priority groups eligible for vaccine at the health district clinics include pregnant women, people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months old, health care and emergency medical services personnel, people between the ages of 6 months and 24 years old and people from 25 through 64 years of age who are a higher risk for H1N1 virus because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.

To date there have been more than 2,500 laboratory-confirmed H1N1 influenza cases this year, health officials said.

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