Texas Man Becomes 5th Swine Flu Victim

A South Texas man with various health problems became the fifth person in the U.S. to die from swine flu, Texas health officials said Friday.

The unidentified 33-year-old Corpus Christi man died May 5 or May 6 after getting sick earlier in the month, said Dr. William Burgin Jr., the medical authority for the Corpus Christi-Nueces County Health District. The man had other medical conditions, including heart problems, Burgin said.

"His other problems aggravated his condition," he said. "They prevented him from breathing well, clearing his airways. He had conditions that decreased his immunity somewhat and made it more difficult for him to survive any viral illness."

Burgin says the man, a single parent, had three children and that only one of the kids got sick. The child was treated with Tamiflu and is now doing better. All three children are staying with relatives.

State health department spokesman Doug McBride said the agency's lab in Austin confirmed swine flu and notified Nueces County health officials about the test results Friday morning.

"He saw a doctor, who started him on Tamiflu but then he got sicker," Burgin said.

The man went back to his doctor and was admitted to a hospital where he died.

Two other individuals in Texas have died after contracting swine flu.

Judy Trunnell, a 33-year-old pregnant mother and teacher from Harlingen in South Texas died May 5. She had been hospitalized since April 19. During that time she had slipped into a coma and gave birth to a healthy baby girl, delivered by Cesarean section. Trunnell, who was 35 weeks pregnant, had asthma, rheumatoid arthritis and a skin condition called psoriasis.

A Mexico City toddler who had been on a family trip to visit relatives in Brownsville died in a Houston hospital from swine flu on April 27. Miguel Tejada Vazquez, who was nearly 2 years old, had a chronic muscle weakness called myasthenia gravis, a heart defect, a swallowing problem and lack of oxygen.

The other two U.S. deaths were in Arizona and Washington state.

The state health department says there have been 506 confirmed cases of swine flu in Texas spread over 35 counties. Dallas County has the most cases, 87, followed by neighboring Tarrant with 83.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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