Tulsa County death confirmed as H1N1-related
BY SUSAN HYLTON World Staff Writer
Thursday, October 15, 2009
10/15/09 at 4:08 AM
For more on swine flu.
A 4-year-old Tulsa County boy's death was caused by the H1N1 virus, or swine flu, the Oklahoma State Department of Health confirmed Wednesday.
Geato McCarty, who was a pre-K student at Cooper Elementary School, 1808 S. 123rd E. Ave., died Saturday.
It's not known if he had any underlying health conditions, a health official said.
There have been eight lab-confirmed H1N1 deaths in Oklahoma since Sept. 1, when such deaths began being reported to the Centers for Disease Control, said state Health Department spokeswoman Pamela Williams. Three of the deaths were children younger than 18, and most of the victims had an underlying medical condition, she said.
A Tulsa teenager died earlier this month from swine flu, state health officials confirmed last week. LaTowyn Gaston, 16, was identified by his aunt, who said he had no previous chronic health problems.
Meanwhile, hundreds of Sapulpa parents and their children were lined up at least a city block long Wednesday for doses of the H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccine at the high school gym.
An estimated 450 doses of H1N1 vaccine — in both the spray and injectable form — were administered, officials said, along with about 275 seasonal flu vaccine doses.
The Creek County Health Department showed up with 1,000 doses, which was fortunate because the turnout was much bigger than anticipated, Sapulpa Superintendent Mary Webb said.
People started arriving about 2 p.m. for the 4-7:30 p.m. event. Six Sapulpa police officers helped with crowd control.
Susan Brandon was the last person in line just after 5 p.m. and was worried that there wouldn't be any vaccine left when it was her children's turn. But with everything she'd seen and read, and one child who has asthma, she decided to wait it out.
"I just read in the news that a 4-year-old child died. That's pretty scary when you have three kids in the public school system," Brandon said.
Lisa Nichols' 9-year-old son, Christopher, has asthma any time he gets a respiratory infection, so she was glad the vaccine was offered.
"You're always a little skeptical, but all the doctors I asked said it's much better to get the shot," Nichols said.
Sapulpa was one of the first schools to be offered the H1N1 vaccine, said Don Blose, immunization chief at the state Health Department. Other schools include Newcastle and several in Comanche County.
Schools are selected based on their absentee rate.
"If we can get kids vaccinated, it will just slow the spread of flu to other members of the community," Blose said.
Richard Forbes, programs manager for the Creek County Health Department, said Sapulpa is one of 20 schools they hope to vaccinate in Creek, Wagoner and Pawnee counties.
A small allotment of H1N1, or swine flu, vaccine arrived in Tulsa late last week. That has already been used to vaccinate hospital health-care workers and more than 100 children at Limestone Elementary School in Sand Springs, said Melanie Christian, spokeswoman for the Tulsa Health Department.
H1N1 numbers, for the week ending Oct. 3
10.3 percent of patients
statewide met the criteria
for influenza-like illness.
The number is similar to
the week before.
53 percent of patients
seen for flu-like symptoms
by sentinel physicians
were in the 5-24
year age group.
Outbreaks of viral
respiratory illness were
reported among students
of several schools in oklahoma,
Tulsa, Garvin and
Source: Tulsa County Health Department
Seasonal flu vaccine
The Tulsa Health
Department is out of
the seasonal flu vaccine
for adults, but another
shipment is expected in
November, according to a
They do still have a
limited supply of the pediatric
seasonal flu vaccine.
The Health Department
also has a limited supply
of H1N1 vaccine that is
available to pregnant
women and children 5-18
who have an underlying
The department hopes
to receive enough of the
vaccine in the next few
weeks to give it to anyone
who wants a vaccination.
Shannon Muchmore and Matt Barnard contributed to this story.
Susan Hylton 581-8381
Hundreds of parents and students wait in the hallway outside of the Sapulpa High School gym, where officials were administering H1N1 and seasonal flu vaccines to students. The turnout was larger than school officials had anticipated. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World