State health officials in Ohio have confirmed the death of a woman who contracted a new strain of the swine flu. The death of the 61-year old woman is the first to be associated with the strain, known as H3N2v. However, officials stress that the woman also had underlying medical issues and that the swine flu may not have been the principal cause of her death.
In a statement, Ohio Department of Health officials said, “The individual had direct contact with swine at [a county fair] before becoming ill. H3N2v, like many other viruses, has the greatest potential to impact those with weakened immune systems.”
They continue, “We have been seeing a mild illness in most individuals infected with the H3N2v virus, so there’s no need for alarm. However, it is important for those at-risk individuals to take extra precautions like avoiding swine exhibits to protect themselves.”
Federal health officials in the United States said 288 cases of H3N2v illness were reported over the summer of 2012. However, the Ohio woman is the first person with the strain to pass away.
Health officials in Canada issued a warning, urging people to exercise caution when visiting petting zoos and agricultural fairs.