Health

New swine flu virus linked to death in Ohio

A woman in Ohio with a new strain of swine flu has died, state health officials say.

A woman in Ohio with a new strain of swine flu has died, state health officials say.

The Ohio Department of Health said Friday that a 61-year-old woman's death is the first known to be associated with H3N2v in the U.S.

Health officials in Ohio urged young children, older residents, pregnant women and people with weakened immune systems to avoid swine exhibits. (Kyle Robertson/Columbus Dispath/Associated Press)

The woman had other medical conditions but the flu virus may have contributed, the department said.

"The individual had direct contact with swine at the Ross County fair before becoming ill," the department said. 

"H3N2v, like many other viruses, has the greatest potential to impact those with weakened immune systems," said Dr. Ted Wymyslo, the department's director.

"We have been seeing a mild illness in most individuals infected with the H3N2v virus, so there's no need for alarm. However, it is important for those at-risk individuals to take extra precautions like avoiding swine exhibits to protect themselves," he added in a release.

In the U.S., federal health authorities reported 288 cases of the strain this summer.

Last week, Health Canada also warned people visiting agricultural fairs and petting zoos that they may be exposed although  no cases have been detected in Canada.

With files from The Associated Press