Health Dept: Baby did not die from swine flu

May 20, 2009 4:49:06 AM PDT
The Health Department says preliminary tests have found the 16-month-old child who died after being hospitalized with respiratory symptoms Monday night did not have swine flu (also known as H1N1).

The pediatric ER at Elmhurst Medical Center was standing room only Monday night when the 16-month-old was carried in by his parents. The boy has been identified as Jonathan Castillo.

He was unresponsive, burning up with a fever of 105.

"When I saw the father carrying the baby inside the room, the baby was unconscious," eyewitness Henry Aranivar said.

Doctors saw the child right away, but it was too late.

Even though the preliminary tests showed the child did not die from swine flu, the Centers for Disease Control will check blood samples from the boy to confirm those findings.

Across the nation, there have been six confirmed deaths -- and more that 5,000 cases of the virus.

Twenty-two states now have serious outbreaks and experts estimate the number of infected Americans could be close to 100,000, but few are as young as the baby who died Monday night in the emergency room.

Emergency rooms in New York City are packed with parents and children worried about the rapid spread of swine flu among younger people. Business at some ER's is up 100 percent since Friday.

In the meantime, concern is also reaching over to Rikers Island, where it was discovered that more inmates are suffering from flu-like symptoms.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg says there are four confirmed cases of the virus at the Riker's Island prison complex, and at least four more probable cases.

The mayor says authorities can't evacuate the jail, but steps are being taken to try and prevent the illness from spreading.

The fears at the schools continues to spread as well. More than 20 area schools have now shut down due to flu-like symptoms in students. CLICK HERE for more on the school closures.


For facts about influenza, and more information about swine flu, please visit the Health Department and CDC websites. Some specific resources:

From New York City Health Department

Facts about flu

From Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

General information about swine flu

Swine Flu Case Definitions

Swine Flu Infection Control and Patient Care

Preventing the Flu