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Florida confirms first death of A/H1N1 flu virus
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Florida health officials on Tuesday reported the first death of A/H1N1 flu in the state after a nine-year-old boy had died at a hospital in Miami-Dade County.

"While most cases of A/H1N1 swine flu are mild, there are exceptions like this tragic case," said Florida Surgeon General Ana Viamonte Ros. "Our hearts and prayers go out to the family and friends of this child."

Fermin Leguen, chief physician for the county's health department, says the boy was brought to a hospital on June 8 within 24 hours of showing flu-like symptoms. The boy died at the hospital the next day.

"Nationally, the CDC (the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) is reporting 45 deaths associated with A/H1N1 flu, and as the flu progresses, that number will unfortunately rise," she said.

In their latest update on Friday, the CDC said there were 45 deaths of A/H1N1 flu in 14 states, as well as 17,855 confirmed flu cases nationwide.

Since then, at least five more states -- Nevada, New Jersey, Massachusetts, Minnesota and Florida -- have reported the first death in their respective state.

Meanwhile, the states of New York, Washington, Connecticut, Wisconsin and Utah have reported at least a total of 14 more deaths in the five states, of which the New York State confirmed 10 deaths, all in the New York City.

But local health officials said the quick deaths do not mean the A/H1N1 flu virus is becoming more virulent.

Seventy-one percent of the 45 deaths reported by the CDC have been of patients with such underlying illnesses as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease or immune deficiencies, they explained.

(Xinhua News Agency June 17, 2009)

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