Snohomish County man dies of swine flu

Swine flu has killed another resident of Snohomish County, the fourth person in Washington to die of the virus.

The man died on June 24, was middle-aged and had other health problems, said Suzanne Pate, a spokeswoman for the Snohomish Health District, on Thursday. No other details were available Thursday evening.

The man’s death is one of four in Washington and 170 nationally.

In May, the death of a 39-year-old man from Snohomish County who had heart problems and viral pneumonia was attributed to swine flu.

The other two deaths in Washington occurred in King and Pierce counties.

So far, 98 people have been hospitalized in Washington from the virus. Ten of those people were in Snohomish County.

The most recent death in Snohomish County is one more reminder that the swine flu virus continues to spread in the midst of summer, a time when flu typically has all but disappeared.

“People think it’s gone away,” Dr. Yuan-Po Tu, who tracks influenza issues for The Everett Clinic, said Thursday. “It hasn’t gone away at all.”

The outbreak, which has now spread to at least 100 countries worldwide, began in early April with cases in Mexico.

Later that month, the first cases were reported in the United States. Since then, an estimated 1 million people have been sickened, according to federal health officials.

Next week, local medical groups will meet with the Snohomish Health District to continue planning for the fall flu season, Tu said.

This could include plans for immunizing people for seasonal flu viruses as well as a second type of shot for swine flu. The federal government has set aside $1 billion for development of a swine flu vaccine.

Federal officials announced Thursday that they will huddle next week to begin national plans for the possibility of a more severe swine outbreak. Scientists say the virus could worsen in the fall.

Local, state and federal health officials have warned that the swine flu virus could suddenly change, causing more severe illness and greater numbers of deaths.

Reporter Sharon Salyer: 425-339-3486 or

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