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Okinawa records nation’s first H1N1 influenza death

Date Posted: 2009-08-20

Okinawa, which has been accounting for more than one-quarter of the nation’s H1N1 influenza cases, suffered its first fatality this week. Two more persons have died elsewhere in Japan since.

A 57-year-old Ginowan man became the first victim since the first case was logged back in May. The man, who became ill August 9th, died of heart and kidney complications. He was one of 684 swine flu cases documented in the past week on Okinawa. Nationwide, 2,655 new cases were reported. Okinawa’s special H1N1 Flu Countermeasures Team reports the island prefecture has registered 1,181 new influenza patients in just the past two weeks.

All together, more than 5,000 cases have been reported in Japan, with half H1N1 cases. Prefecture health officials say the “speed of spreading goes much faster than mainland Japan because Okinawa has finished the rainy season and the air has become very dry.” The Flu Countermeasures Team is warning that with Okinawa’s many summer festivals and carnivals, “if anybody has cough, or is feeling bad, please wear a mask and try to cover the mouth.”

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