Sixth swine flu death in US is of school official

May 18th, 2009 - 12:40 pm ICT by IANS  

Washington, May 18 (DPA) The assistant principal of a New York school died Sunday after being hospitalised for swine flu, a hospital spokesman said.
Mitchell Wiener was hospitalised with severe symptoms related to A (H1N1) influenza last week, prompting city officials to close six schools. It was the sixth reported death from the virus in the US.

Wiener died at 6.17 p.m. in Flushing Hospital Medical Centre in the borough of Queens, hospital spokesman Andrew Rubin said.

On Sunday, health and school officials closed three more schools for at least a week.

“We are now seeing a rising tide of flu in many parts of New York City,” New York City Health Commissioner Thomas R. Frieden said in a statement.

“With the virus spreading widely, closing these and other individual schools will make little difference in transmission throughout New York City, but we hope will help slow transmission within the individual school communities. Given the large number of cases, it is entirely possible that in the coming days there will be people with severe illness from flu, particularly among people who have underlying health problems.”

Wiener’s death was the first from the virus in New York. As of Friday there were 4,714 confirmed or probable cases of the illness in the US, figures from the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention showed.

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