Officials with the Grayson County Health Department on Thursday confirmed the area’s first influenza-related death of the season. Health authorities say a 73-year-old Whitesboro man died from flu "Type A," meaning there is approximately a 90-percent chance he was killed by the 2009 H1N1 "Swine Flu" strain of the virus, which has proved prevalent this year.

Officials with the Grayson County Health Department on Thursday confirmed the area’s first influenza-related death of the season. Health authorities say a 73-year-old Whitesboro man died from flu "Type A," meaning there is approximately a 90-percent chance he was killed by the 2009 H1N1 "Swine Flu" strain of the virus, which has proved prevalent this year.


Department spokeswoman Amanda Ortez said the man died Jan. 6 after being admitted to Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital-WNJ. Ortez said the deceased had multiple underlying health conditions which exacerbated the illness. She explained that health facilities are not legally required to report adult flu deaths to the County, but have been asked to do so by the health department in response to a particularly dangerous flu season — especially for those between the ages of 2 and 65.


"The hospitals are not usually required to report adult deaths because of the flu," said Ortez. "At this point, they’re releasing information voluntarily and that’s what they’ve chosen to do."


Grayson County health officials reiterated again Thursday that getting vaccinated is the best way to prevent getting sick, as this year’s vaccination has proven particularly effective against H1N1. Those who have contracted the illness and are experiencing shortness of breath or altered mental capacity should visit the emergency room immediately.


As of Jan. 15, 38 people in North Texas have died from the flu this year, officials from the Collin and Denton county health departments told the Dallas Morning News.