SANTIAGO – Chilean authorities on Sunday confirmed the second death from swine flu here, which was also the second death from the AH1N1 virus in South America.
Bernardo Martorell, the regional secretary for the Chilean Health Ministry, said that the victim – whom he did not identify by name or sex – was 56 years old, not 49 as originally reported.
“I want to say that this patient who died (at the Base Hospital in Osorno) was never a suspicious case, but rather hours before his death, when he had a high fever, treatment was begun but regrettably he died,” the official said.
Martorell told reporters that the person who died entered the hospital without any fever, but he did have multiple health problems such as obesity, sleep apnea, chronic tobacco use and cardiac insufficiency.
He also said that the identity of the victim would not be made public at the express request of his relatives.
Meanwhile, he also said that the Los Lagos region, about 1,000 kilometers (620 miles) south of Santiago, is one of the regions in Chile with the most confirmed cases of swine flu.
Martorell also told Radio Bio Bio that some of the cases there were “very serious, and therefore more ... deaths are expected.”
Meanwhile, in Santiago, the situation of Oscar Jimenez, 40, worsened over the past few hours, forcing doctors to connect him to an artificial respirator so that his blood could be properly oxigenated.
Chile at present has 890 cases of the AH1N1 virus, six of which are classified as “serious.”
The swine flu has killed 103 people and infected 5,563 in Mexico so far, while in the United States there have been 27 confirmed deaths and 13,217 people who have been infected.
Added to those cases are three people who died from this particular strain of flu in Canada, one in Costa Rica and another in the Dominican Republic, as well as thousands of other people who have been infected in more than 60 countries around the world.