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Swine flu possible cause of Alaska patient death

Posted: November 7, 2013 - 3:52pm

ANCHORAGE — An influenza strain known as swine flu is the possible cause of a patient's death at the Alaska Native Medical Center in Anchorage.

Michael Cooper with the state section of epidemiology says state lab tests are still pending.

But he says the patient tested positive at the hospital for type A influenza. The swine flu strain, or H1N1, is a type A flu.

Jay Butler, the hospital's director of community health services, describes the patient as a young adult who died Tuesday. Butler says he can't release personal information about the person because of patient confidentiality.

Health officials say this year's flu vaccine protects against the H1N1 strain.

H1N1 caused the 2009 swine flu pandemic and has been circulating since.

Alaska lab tests have confirmed 11 H1N1 cases this season.

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