26-year-old Island man is dead of H1N1 influenza

By Steve Myrick
The Martha’s Vineyard Times
August 20, 2009

A 26-year old Martha’s Vineyard resident who died August 14 is the first confirmed H1N1-related death on the Island, and the 11th death in Massachusetts, according to state public health officials.

The man, Elton Barbosa of Oak Bluffs, died at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston after he was transported off the Island earlier last week. He was a native of Brazil and worked on the Island as a painter, according to several acquaintances.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) confirmed the H1N1-related death on Monday. In a press release, DPH said the victim had no known underlying health conditions, but released no other information about the case. “Every death from flu is tragic, but it is even more so when it involves a young person,” said DPH Commissioner John Auerbach. “This case is also a reminder of how serious influenza can be, and why we are focused so intently on preparations for the upcoming flu season.”

Elton Barbosa, 26, is believed to be the first confirmed death from the H1N1 flue virus on Martha’s Vineyard.

Several factors are unusual about the death. In eight of the 10 previously confirmed deaths, there were underlying health conditions. An underlying medical issue can make people more susceptible to contagious diseases like H1N1 flu and can create health complications that are more likely to contribute to the death.

Mr. Barbosa’s age, 26, is also unusual. Of the 1,387 H1N1 cases confirmed in Massachusetts as of August 13, 63 percent were for people who were age 18 or under.

The entire article is here.

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