A 52-year-old Corvallis woman has died of causes related to the H1N1 flu, the second such fatality in Benton County, officials said Friday.

Charlie Fautin, the deputy director of the Benton County Health Department, said the woman died Dec. 28 at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland. County officials declined to identify her, citing federal medical-privacy laws.

The woman had a history of diabetes, officials said, and the cause of death was listed as multiple complications secondary to H1N1 influenza.

The woman arrived at Legacy Emanuel on Dec. 14, Fautin said, after a week at Good Samaritan Regional Medical Center in Corvallis. Fautin said she was transferred to the Portland hospital to access the intensive care unit there.

"She got sick when there was a lot of this around," he said, noting that the incidence of H1N1 has declined over the last few weeks.

The county's other H1N1 victim, a 53-year-old man, died on Nov. 30, also at a Portland hospital. In that case, Fautin said, there were no underlying health issues.

In Benton County since Sept. 1, 19 patients have been hospitalized for H1N1-related causes.

During a typical flu season, Fautin said, 20 to 40 people across the mid-valley will die from flu-related causes.

This season is unusual, he said, because there have been very few reports of seasonal flu across the state. "We're not really seeing the other flu varieties this year," he said, perhaps because H1N1 is outcompeting other flu strains.

Another unusual aspect of this flu season, he said, is that younger people - ages 19 to 60 - appear to be hit hardest by H1N1.

Across the state since Sept. 1, according to the Oregon Department of Human Services, 1,303 patients have been hospitalized with influenza and 63 people have died.

 

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