9-year-old Concord girl is Bay Area's first swine flu death

Student who died May 29 had not been in school during time when exposure is greatest

A 9-year-old Concord girl who died May 29 with the swine flu virus had been out of school for a week and health officials said Thursday they do not believe other children at her school were exposed to the illness.

Contra Costa Public Health Director Dr. Wendel Brunner said that all schools in Contra Costa County will remain open and children in the county are not at any greater risk of contracting the swine flu virus as a result of the child's death.

The Contra Costa County coroner's office identified the child as Karen Perez.

Richard Nicoll, superintendent of the Mount Diablo Unified School District, said that Karen attended El Monte Elementary School at 1400 Dina Drive in Concord.

Karen had been home sick for more than seven days, which is the incubation period of the virus, Brunner said at a news conference in Martinez Thursday afternoon.

There are no other cases of swine flu at the school and no plans to close the school, Nicoll said.

Grief counselors were at the school Monday to help students and teachers cope with the news of Karen's death, Nicoll said.

Laboratory tests confirmed Wednesday that Karen had the H1N1 virus as well as a secondary bacterial infection. The county health department is working with state and federal health officials to determine what role swine flu played in her death, Brunner said.

She is not believed to have had any underlying medical issues, Brunner said.

Karen is the first person infected with swine flu to die in Contra Costa County.

She is, however, the seventh child in California to die from the flu this year. The six other children died from ordinary seasonal flu, Brunner said.

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Like this comment
Posted by ???
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 4, 2009 at 4:39 pm

I thought this swine flu is a thing of the past. There's actual death of a young girl now in's too close to home.

Like this comment
Posted by anne
a resident of Ponderosa
on Jun 5, 2009 at 9:04 am

How was this little girl exposed to the virus? That would answer a few questions.

Like this comment
Posted by mooseturd
a resident of Pleasanton Valley
on Jun 5, 2009 at 9:49 am

Far from being a thing of the past, the number of cases is still climbing and the US leads the world.
Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Me Too
a resident of Canyon Creek
on Jun 5, 2009 at 6:02 pm

Yeah, but the media got bored with it, because not enough people were dying from it.

Like this comment
Posted by Qwerty
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 6, 2009 at 7:16 am

I think there should be a follow-up to report on whether or not the child had any underlying conditions or had traveled recently.

Like this comment
Posted by sj
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 6, 2009 at 1:35 pm

reports stated that yes indeed she did have the H1N1 virus, but she also had a bacteria infection..Chances are she probably died from a bacteria infection getting into her blood stream, not the H1N1 virus. People die from complications of the flu every year. There is nothing in the report that tells us anything about whether or not she was immunocompromised to begin with or whether or not she had medical care early on during the infection. The Media never tells you the whole truth, so I wouldn't get too worried, just wash your hands frequently and tell your kids the same.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 6, 2009 at 4:52 pm

Stacey is a registered user. has a really good blog entry about how the flu kills: Web Link

I suggest everyone read it as understanding flu complications can be the difference between life and death. This kind of information is just the sort of information people need yet strangely is always left out of all those news articles about the swine flu.

Like this comment
Posted by Stacey
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 6, 2009 at 4:53 pm

Stacey is a registered user.

"Whether it's regular flu or swine flu, any illness that progresses rapidly can kill you. So maybe you've had one day of the aches, a low grade temp and a little nausea - but if you progress in that one day from a wee bit of nausea to puking constantly, having watery diarrhea, and getting dizzy when you stand, you've got to get help soon."

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