Officials Confirm 1st Swine Flu Death In Mass.

A 30-year-old Boston woman has become the first person in Massachusetts to die of swine flu. Health officials are once again urging people with flu-like symptoms to stay home for seven days.

The state Department of Public Health and Boston Public Health Commission aren't disclosing the woman's name or any other personal details about her. But they say she was hospitalized on June 5, was diagnosed with swine flu — also known as H1N1 — on June 10, and died Sunday. An investigation into her death is ongoing.

Public Health Commission Director Barbara Ferrer says anyone with a fever, sore throat, cough and body aches should assume they have swine flu and stay home to prevent it from spreading.

"Most people who will come down with flu-like symptoms will, in fact, fully recover and have mild cases," Ferrer said. "And we have the resources in our state to treat people who have flu. So seeking medical attention by calling your health care provider if you're feeling sick is very important."

The number of confirmed swine flu cases in Massachusetts has now reached more than 1,150, and there have been 45 H1N1-related deaths nationwide. Last week, the World Health Organization declared swine flu a pandemic, which makes it the first global flu epidemic in more than four decades.

State Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach says Massachusetts is stockpiling antiviral medications in case another wave of swine flu virus spreads this fall.

This program aired on June 15, 2009. The audio for this program is not available.

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Sacha Pfeiffer Host, All Things Considered
Sacha Pfeiffer was formerly the host of WBUR's All Things Considered.



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