Medical conditions may increase H1N1 flu's potency

The Sacramento BeeJune 25, 2009 

As the numbers of swine flu cases increase nationally, scientists say underlying medical conditions such as heart or lung problems, asthma and obesity have been linked to serious infections.

Lynn Lane, the mother of a 24-year-old Sacramento woman who died Tuesday of the H1N1 virus, said Wednesday her daughter was healthy and energetic but overweight.

Beth Kizere died in the UC Davis Medical Center after being hospitalized for 11 days. She was the first in Sacramento County to die of swine flu and the ninth in California.

Lane said hospital personnel gave her daughter excellent care. She said they didn't focus on her daughter's weight or discuss a connection between H1N1 and overweight people.

"Actually, they said her being overweight was kind of a plus because she had reserve fat to sustain her" during her illness, Lane said. "Plus, she was so young. But it didn't help."

Kizere did have allergies, Lane said, and she suspected her daughter might have had asthma. But Lane added that her daughter didn't smoke or have a disease such as emphysema. In general, she said, her daughter's health was robust.

Lane, who lives in the Arden Arcade area, said it is unclear when or where her daughter contracted the virus.

Kizere traveled with her brother and friends to Las Vegas on June 4 and became ill during the trip. Lane said the group returned home June 8, and Kizere was admitted to the medical center June 13.

"They thought she had pneumonia," Lane said. "But it just progressed downward. When she went in, she was running a high temperature."

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