Md. swine flu-related deaths rise to 12 and Va. to 11

By Michael Laris
Thursday, October 29, 2009

Maryland confirmed two more swine flu-related deaths Wednesday, bringing the state's total to 12. The death toll in Virginia has reached 11, officials said.

The Maryland cases involved two adults from the Baltimore area who apparently had no underlying medical conditions, according to state health officials.

The latest Virginia case involved a woman from the Charlottesville and Louisa County area. She suffered from a preexisting ailment "that put her at higher risk for complications from the flu," said Melodie Martin, a spokeswoman for the state health department. A Jetersville girl was the 10th Virginia death. She was "the first otherwise healthy person" with no underlying conditions to die, Martin said.

Heaven Skyler Wilson, 6, loved "watching the leaves fall from trees, peering at the moon and talking with God," according to an obituary from the Joseph McMillian Funeral Home.

The District had reported no such deaths as of Wednesday.

In Montgomery County on Wednesday, 1,000 people ages 2 to 24 were vaccinated at each of three school sites using the nasal mist form, but hundreds of others were turned away, officials said.

Montgomery health officials have canceled clinics scheduled for the next two Wednesdays because they don't have enough vaccine. Officials said they are considering setting up a clinic for pregnant women only but have not settled on the specifics.

One of those who died was Walter Brooks, who graduated in May from North County High School in Glen Burnie and was a student at Anne Arundel Community College. The loss and an appeal from his grieving family to take precautions have seized the attention of classmates, said Linda Schulte, the college's director of public relations.

"Hearing it through the family's voice . . . has made an impact on some students, particularly those who might have been taking this in a cavalier fashion," Schulte said. "It's one thing for an institution or a parent to tell students or their children to wash their hands. It's another for a family that has had such a tragic loss to say, because they care, take these things seriously."

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