Victoria has had its first swine flu death. According to a press release today from the Department of Human services, a 35 yo man from Colac died on Saturday due to complications from the virus. Like the only other Australian fatality to date, it is noted that he had “a range of significant underlying medical problems”.
While the DHS website lists the current number cases of H1N1 in Victoria as 1,406 this only includes people who have had a lab test to confirm the virus. The reality is that an unknown percentage of cases are presenting to their doctors due to the symptoms being milder than expected and testing is no longer routine to determine the cause. Antiviral drugs have ceased to be prescribed unless the person is deemed at risk or the symptoms are severe.
However pregnant women, those with respiratory disease (such as asthma), heart disease, diabetes, renal disease, morbid obesity or immunosuppression should take any flu-like symptoms seriously and go to their gp or local hospital as soon as possible.
In the meantime the rest of us need to keep washing our hands, stay at home if feeling unwell and continue taking vitamin c/cod liver oil if appropriate.