H1N1 swine flu takes young mother

Melissia McDaniel made plans to give the baby she was carrying to a couple who would provide a good home. What she never planned for was getting the H1N1 virus. McDaniel, 29, of Modesto, died last Wednesday, six weeks after giving birth to a 7-pound, 3-ounce girl.

Health officials reported the case Monday as one of the five swine flu fatalities in Stanislaus County since July. The baby did not have the illness and is living with her adoptive parents, McDaniel's family said.

County health officials renewed a call for childbearing women to take precautions against the illness. Pregnant women and children younger than 5 are at higher risk of complications from any flu virus, including H1N1.

The county Health Services Agency sent guidance to health care providers involved with prenatal care and is posting information for pregnant women on its Web site.

Pregnant women with flu symptoms, or those who have been exposed to people with influenza, should notify their doctors and talk with them about antiviral medications, said Cleopathia Moore, associate director of the county agency. Taking prescription antiviral medicines such as Tamiflu is considered safe during pregnancy.

"Pregnant women should be cautious about their environment," Moore said. "They should be careful about being in large crowds where they are likely to be exposed. If there are younger children around, take precautions such as washing their hands and staying away from those who are not well. And when in doubt, they should contact their health care provider."

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