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First Child Dies from H1N1 in Columbus -- 10.9.09



Contact:    Jose Rodriguez      (614) 645-6928     [email protected] 
                 Mitzi Kline            (614) 462-3028     [email protected]

First Columbus Child Dies from H1N1 Influenza
Public Health Officials urge Parents and Residents to act now, as more Widespread Infection Expected

COLUMBUS, OH – A Columbus male age 14, died last night from complications of H1N1 influenza, marking the first local pediatric death from the virus. He was a patient at Nationwide Children’s Hospital.

"As a parent, my heart goes out to this child's family," said Dr. Teresa Long, Columbus Public Health Commissioner. “As a physician, this tragedy reinforces that the H1N1 virus is in our community, and poses a risk to us all, especially children, pregnant women and people with underlying health conditions. We urge parents – and all residents -- to get an H1N1 vaccine when they are available and to take every day steps to protect themselves, their loved ones and the entire community.”

A limited supply of H1N1 nasal vaccine, which cannot be given to children under the age of two or pregnant women, is expected to arrive in the next few days. H1N1 injectable vaccines are expected to follow and arrive by mid-October. The vaccines will initially be targeted to high risk groups and their close contacts, including pregnant women; caregivers of children less than 6-months-old; healthcare and EMS workers; and, children 6 months to 4 years-old.

“Initially, shots will be available to priority groups according to CDC guidance, but eventually, everyone who wants one will be able to get it to protect themselves and their loved ones,” said Susan Tilgner, Franklin County Board of Health Commissioner.

Both health commissioners also point out there are things everyone can do to help prevent H1N1 and seasonal influenza:

  • Get a seasonal flu shot as soon as possible.
  • Stay home if you are sick.
  • Cover your cough.
  • Wash your hands and use alcohol–based hand sanitizers.
  • Don’t touch your eyes, nose or mouth.
  • Avoid close contact with sick people.
  • Get an H1N1 vaccine when it’s available.

Public health continues to track flu illnesses in order to take necessary steps to prevent and control the spread of H1N1 and seasonal influenza. Visit us at Columbus Flu Info on Facebook and Twitter or visit our Web site at or for frequently updated H1N1 information and resources. Additional information also is available at or by calling the Central Ohio Community Flu Hotline at 211or 221-2255.