Lake County woman dies from swine-flu complications
The Lake County woman had traveled to California prior to her death, according to the health department. It is not clear whether the woman caught the swine flu while on her trip to California, and she also may have driven to the West coast state and developed the flu along the way, Hutchinson said.
"We can't pinpoint if she picked up the virus in Florida," she said. "It's unfortunate."
Lake health officials were shocked by the death because flu cases—the swine flu and the seasonal influenza—in Florida have been unheard of in recent weeks.
"It's very early," Hutchinson said, of the traditional fall and winter months when most flu cases pop up.
But health officials urge residents to get their flu shots now to avoid catching the virus.
"The swine flu has still been around," Hutchinson said. "It hasn't gone away."
The swine flu, alternatively known as H1N1, was declared a global pandemic in 2009 by several international health groups. Cases of the virus dropped significantly last year.
Although the pandemic expired in 2010, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention warns that it is still possible to get the swine flu as the virus is likely to linger for years.
The federal agency encourages people to get their annual flu shot, which protects against three different flu viruses, including the swine flu.
During the 2009 pandemic, a number of swine flu deaths in Central Florida were reporterd. Since the virus was identified in 2009, more than 15 people in Orange County died from the strain.
Lake County also had several cases connected to the swine flu. A 57-year-old man died in 2010, and, in 2009, a 47-year-old Lake County man died from swine-flu complications. Around that time, a number of students at the Lake Hills School in Howey-in-the-Hills were sent home with flulike symptoms.