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Two L.A. County deaths possibly related to swine flu, coroner says [Updated]

The Los Angeles County coroner's office is investigating two recent deaths that officials say could be related to the recent global swine flu outbreak. However, no tests have come back positive for the swine flu, and medical examiners have not officially determined what caused the deaths.

[Updated at 2:08 p.m.: The L.A. coroner's office said this afternoon that further testing indicated neither of two flu-related deaths being investigated in Los Angeles County appeared to be linked to the swine flu. Read full story: Coroner doubts 2 men died of swine flu

Updated at 9:30 a.m.: Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said his office would collect specimens from the deceased and send them to the county public health department, which would determine whether either person died from the swine flu. If so, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention would be notified, Harvey said.]

Coroner's spokesman Craig Harvey said Bellflower Medical Center reported the death of a 33-year Long Beach resident Monday afternoon from symptoms resembling swine flu.

"It's that diagnosis that needs to be confirmed," Harvey said. "An autopsy will be performed to establish the cause of death."

The man was taken to the hospital Saturday, complaining of shortness of breath and lymphoma. Doctors later diagnosed the patient with pneumonia, Harvey said.

The second case involves a 45-year-old man from La Mirada, whose death was reported Monday to the coroner's office. The man died April 22 at Coast Plaza Doctor's Hospital in Norwalk.

Doctors said the man died of pneumonia but the L.A. County Health Department refused to accept the death certificate signed by the private doctor, Harvey said. The case was then referred to the coroner's office, which will conduct further investigation.

If confirmed, the deaths would be the first reported in the United States from the swine flu.

-- Andrew Blankstein


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Comments () | Archives (20)

Why on earth would the coroner release this unconfirmed diagnosis?! How totally irresponsible to release information at this time that might cause a panic. Unbelievable!

If otherwise healthy people are catching Swine Flu and are dying from complications I will be VERY worried. Usually the flu hits and goes away with some care. But, even seasonal flu kills people. I just have to remember that a drunk driver kills one person every 20 minutes. So I'm more at risk to get killed my a drunk driver than catching the Swine Flu.I

Aint it grand? The Mexican government passes out free masks and encourages people to stay home while the U.S. government does squat. I guess someone is afraid that the already filthy rich business owners will lose a dollar or two if U.S. citizens were encouraged to stay home in order to protect themselves and their families. Obama says he's for the people yet says there is no cause for alarm in what every disease expert in the world is calling a deadly pandemic. I hope this isn't a foretaste of the leadership to come.

Hey, I'm 12 yrs old and my cousin in mexico had swine flu. He didn't get very much sick but I heard others have. It's scary to think people might've died from this in the US! Hopefully it turns out they didn't die from the swines flu.

If otherwise healthy people are dying from pneumonia why not start vaccinating everyone for pneumonia? From what I've been reading pneumonia is the cause of death from the swine flu in Mexico. Also, why hasn't our government come out with a swine flu vaccination? Or remove restrictions on buying Tamiflu?

Thank God the coroner's office released this timely information. The public absolutely requires this information as immediately as possibly in order to be informed and prepare. I would be furious if I learned the county had suspected swine flu deaths but didn't inform the public until they could "confirmation".

If the only visable rule for comments is that people under 13 years old can not post comments, how did the 12 year old make it through moderation?

I've known this was coming for months. Been listening to a couple of Dr's on the radio. Both agree that this virus was designed and produced in a laboratory. This is being done on purpose. Why do you think they are doing nothing about it?
Everything they are doing shows they want it to spread!

The Mexican government might as well hand out a crucifix and holy water for how effective those masks are.

The world's first PC pandemic. There are arbitrary "don't go there" questions and practices (e.g. role of porous border, role of illegal entry into nation, possibility of border wide quarantine, etc) which need to be discussed but our so called leaders dare not. They'd be pummeled from both sides by both the business community as well as the so called "Immigrants Rights" groups. Your health and mine are being exposed to threat for the "cause" of transnational progressivism.

It's great for all these officials to say dont be alarmed. Wonder if they'd change their attitude if a family member of theirs got this swine flu. I have a compromized immune system, so I'm at a high risk. They discount this saying if you're a normal adult, it shouldnt be a problem for you. Just like the when they refer to senior citizens who are on social security and Medicare. I'm on Social Security Disability, yet you seldom if ever, here them say anything about the programs lack of help or cuts that will effect the Disabled. The US attitude is clear...if you're not "normal" meaning you're not a person who goes to work everyday, you're a thorn in society's foot, worthless and disposable. Why doesnt the government just make human euthanasia legal....afterall, it would save them all this money that us freeloaders are sucking out of the system. That will leave more benefits for all the illegal aliens in the country. Afterall, they at least can work.


If this turns out to be correct, and the story is not covered up as is being attempted in Orlando by Disney World, this would change public opinion on the severity of this situation.

With 70 known cases and 2 deaths we would have a 2% mortality rate, very bad.

Considering how many ties California and Mexico have, this was inevitable. Glad I took my kid out of school this week. If indeed these men died of swine flu and considering the incubation period of 1-3 weeks, its just a matter of time before more cases are reported.

Time to stop by Costco...can you buy tamiflu on ebay?

Is this correct? The Long Beach man was said to be suffering from "shortness of breath" AND "lymphoma". I doubt that he presented at the emergency with previously undiagnosed lymphoma. It sounds like he was already suffering from the cancer. Unless it's a typo and they meant some lymph nodes were swollen. It's a little hard to understand what is meant.

Then the man who dies of pneumonia - in this health emergency, they are probably not willing just to sign off on these common causes of death without some tissue samples to rule out swine flu.

Finally, as the person writes above about his cousin in Mexico getting swine flu and recovering: that is probably the thing: in Mexico thousands of people may have already had the disease and gotten better. This is not some supervirus, but something which most people can survive. They just weren't vaccinated for it in the regular flu season, because it is new. New flu viruses are created when man and usually domesticated animals interact, and it crosses over, then is sometimes transmissible between humans, getting a whole new lease on life.

I am not going to downplay the threat of swine flu, but things like it have been around before, and we got through them. I suppose they are just trying to practice dealing with it before an even more lethal one comes onstage.


First of all, why is a coroner releasing unconfirmed information. I can see it now..."I'm the first to call a death in L.A. county for swine flu.

Second..I agree with Jim Q. Citizen above. God-forbid we have everyone stay home for a day or two, just to try and contain it. The almight dollar speaks again.

There really isn't enough information here to get worked up about, it seems. We don't know if it was Swine Flu, and we don't know if the two individuals in question were otherwise healthy. Yes, they were both pretty young, but that isn't a guarantee of health, right? Anyway, until it is confirmed what killed these two people, it's not a good idea to jump to conclusions.

Why is it that coroners like to leak information without research and evidence to back it up. I think it is criminal for a coroner to make any statement that they are even looking into swine flu deaths at this point when the public fear may be increased. It is irresponsible and shows a lack of professionalism. SHAME on the LA County Coroner!

Or perhaps UPDATE again might say that the coroner was pressured to say it wasn't the Mexican Flying Pig Flu when it really was.

Given the current sample sizes and poor sources of information (ie, we are being told only what certain people want us to hear plus a few "eyewitness accounts")... there is no way we can even guess if this is the real deal, or just more tamiflu guerilla marketing.

I got this flu. Lymphoma? Well, not exactly, but its symptoms mimic those of mononucleosis which causes swollen lymph glands in the head and neck, along with an extremely sore throat. That causal agent is believed to be Epstein-Barr virus, which is implicated in some lymphomas and leukemias. That, and severe headache, night sweats, high fever...this is a very virulent bug. The first evening I suffered through with this I thought about how easy it would be to cause death to someone elderly, already immune suppressed, or a small child. Yes, it is that bad. And then, once you feel like you are getting better, you get sick again. A cyclical event that drives you crazy.

Respiration is labored and shallow, like pneumonia. Pick any of these symptoms and it is easy to see how the cause of death could be written off as something other than swine/avian/human H1N1.

Regardless, it is true that relatively healthy people like myself are infected and suffer from moderate to severe symptoms. There is no antibodies to this particular, virulent strain.

IMHO, the best advice for this is not to get it. That means washing your hands countless times a day. Every keyboard, doorknob, or surface is potentially infected. Moreover, the transmission from hand to eye is probably the most common form of transmission. Forget the masks. Wash your hands. Clean surfaces like keyboards with alcohol wipes. Practice standard sanitary techniques and minimize your risk.

Good luck. I am getting better....at least for now. Check back in an hour just to make sure. Oh, and finally, if this is "man made", this is without a doubt a terrorist attack of the 1st order.


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