There have been two flu-related deaths from the H1N1 strain of the virus in Lucas County over the past two weeks, health officials said today.
“There have been early reports that there may be more deaths both at Toledo Hospital and a couple more at St. Vincent Hospital, so unfortunately compared to the past few years we are not only seeing more cases of flu right now, it appears to be people are dying from this flu,”said Dr. David Grossman, health commissioner for the Toledo-Lucas County Health Department.
Toledo resident, 62-year-old Connie Bucklew, died Tuesday and a 50-year-old Temperance man passed away on Dec. 28. Both were in Toledo Hospital.
There has been a marked increase in people coming down with influenza in Lucas County and this year it is behaving a little different, said Dr. Grossman. Not only are hospital admissions on the rise from the virus, but local hospital emergency rooms are being inundated by people with flu-like symptoms, he said.
He said this year the flu strain that is most prevalent is H1N1 and it appears to be attacking people across the board in terms of age and gender.
Any flu infection carries a risk of serious complications, hospitalization, or death, but the H1N1 strain of the flu virus caused particular concern when it first appeared in 2009. It was considered a pandemic by health officials because of the number of children and young adults who were affected. Since then, H1N1 has been incorporated into the flu vaccine every year.