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East Tennessee Children's Hospital has first swine flu death

Staff Report • Oct 8, 2009 at 12:00 AM

When East Tennessee Children's Hospital lost its first patient to H1N1 on Sunday, it underscored just how serious "swine flu" can get for children. Not much information is available about the Cumberland County child who died. The child's underlying medical conditions, whatever they were, haven't been made public.

But in the case of an H1N1 infection, which can lead to serious upper respiratory problems, those factors don't seem to matter as much as with seasonal influenza, which typically hits the very young, very old and infirm hardest, said Dr. Lori Patterson, director of pediatric infectious diseases at the hospital.

"The same rules don't apply," Patterson said. "Around half of the kids we've had who have needed to go on ventilators have been perfectly healthy kids. ... This seems to be happening somewhat indiscriminately."

Read the full report at the Knoxville News Sentinel's web site.

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