20 Jun 2009

Australian man with swine flu dies, cause unknown

4:21 pm on 20 June 2009

A 26-year-old West Australian man has become the first person with swine flu to die in Australia.

He died in the Royal Adelaide Hospital on Friday afternoon after being diagnosed with the virus on Thursday.

South Australian health authorities could not yet confirm whether the man died because of swine flu, as he had been suffering from a number of other serious health conditions.

The state's Health Minister John Hill said the Aboriginal man had been transferred to the Royal Adelaide Hospital because of those conditions. The ultimate cause of death is not known, he said, nor how swine flu interacted with the existing medical conditions.

South Australia's chief medical officer Paddy Phillips said the authorities will be letting the Government know whether or not H1N1 was a factor, once they have all the information.

"Unfortunately, there is a higher incidence of the illnesses that make people vulnerable to complications from influenza, as well as H1N1, in the Aboriginal population," Professor Phillips said.