First Indiana H1N1 death declared

Wanda English Burnett

The shocking news that the first death from the H1N1 Influenza in Indiana was a resident of a county adjoining Ripley, was made last Friday evening, July 10 from the Indiana State Department of Health.

“I would like to extend my sympathies to the family for their loss,” said State Health Commissioner Dr. Judy Monroe.

The news first broke in several media outlets last week that a Moores Hill brother and sister were seriously ill, but the cause was unknown.

Matthew Paul McIntosh, 19, of Moores Hill, died Sunday, July 5 at the University Hospital in Cincinnati, where he had been taken for a “mysterious” illness. It has now been determined that the cause was the H1N1 virus. His sister, Mindy McIntosh, was still hospitalized in critical condition as of last week. The two have another sibling, Christopher, who resides in Shelbyville. Their parents are Mark and Katrina McIntosh.

Known to family and friends as “Skinny” Matthew was the drummer in a band called “Strange on Display”. He was a 2008 graduate of South Dearborn High School and an active member of Emanuel Lutheran Church in Greendale.

In a press release from the Indiana State Department of Health, it noted they will be working closely with the Dearborn County Health Department to investigate the case. They have already been in touch with all close contacts and health care providers who might have been exposed to the case.
Dr. Monroe said, “We know the virus is still circulating in the state, and we have been concerned that there would be fatalities. Influenza always has the potential to cause serious disease or even death.” This was the tragic case for the McIntosh family who live in a bordering town to Ripley County.

The state health commissioner advised people if they become ill with influenza-like symptoms to contact their health care provider. Symptoms are similar to the normal seasonal flu and include: fever, cough, sore throat, headache and muscle aches. “Some people have also reported runny nose, nausea, vomiting and diarrhea.” The symptoms appear 2-7 days after someone is exposed to the virus. The report noted that people can spread influenza viruses from 1-2 days before symptoms start to about 7 days after they begin.

The three C’s are extremely important to practice to possibly prevent the influenza. They are:
• Clean - properly wash your hands, frequently.
• Cover - cover your cough and sneeze.
• Contain - contain your germs by staying home if you are sick.

The doctor advised those who experience difficulty breathing, pain or pressure in the chest or abdomen, sudden dizziness, confusion, or severe or persistent vomiting, to seek emergency medical care.

She advised parents to be on vigilant watch and seek immediate medical attention for their children if they show these warning signs: fast breathing, or difficulty breathing, bluish skin color, not drinking enough fluids, not waking up or not interacting, being so irritable that the child does not want to be held, fever with a rash, or symptoms that improve and then become worse.

Ripley County Health Department officials are in close contact with surrounding counties concerning the situation. It was reported in the Osgood Journal on June 30 that there were five confirmed cases of the H1N1 Influenza A virus in Switzerland County.