While the Swine Flu has been largely ignored recently by news media, the Virginia Department of Health announced today the state's first death in Virginia associated with the new influenza A (H1N1) virus. The Virginia Department of Health (VDH) also said in a release that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported 17 deaths in the nation caused by the new virus. There have been 115 deaths in laboratory-confirmed H1N1 cases worldwide.

However, the Virginia patient had preexisting medical conditions that increased the risk of complications, said VDH. And also, to put the death in perspective, each year, seasonal flu -- not of the new H1N1 variety -- ordinarily results in about 36,000 deaths nationwide and approximately 1,000 die in Virginia from influenza and pneumonia.

Symptoms of influenza include fever, cough, sore throat, headache, body aches, chills or fatigue. People who experience these symptoms are asked to call their health care provider or local health department to discuss the possible need for treatment.

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government