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8-Year-Old Boy Dies From Swine Flu, Total Illinois Deaths At 8

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CHICAGO (AP) -- An 8-year-old suburban Chicago boy and two Chicago adults have died after falling ill with swine flu, bringing the state's total fatality toll from the illness to eight.

The virus is continuing to spread, unlike seasonal influenza, which normally has tapered off by late spring, health officials said.

The 8-year-old, a resident of Oak Forest, died June 13, one day after he was admitted to a hospital. He had no other known health problems, Cook County health officials said. Two Chicago residents, a 26-year-old woman and a 52-year-old man, died last week, said Chicago Department of Public Health spokesman Tim Hadac.

The woman died June 9 after being in a hospital in Chicago for a week. The man had other health problems and died on June 11 after being admitted to a hospital on May 30.

It's unclear whether the boy was the first child to die of the virus in Illinois because Cook County health officials wouldn't release the age of a female who died in May. In all the other cases, the victims were adults, ranging in age from 20 to 74.

Illinois has had nearly 2,000 confirmed swine flu cases in 22 counties.

Stephen Martin Jr., chief operating officer of the Cook County health department, urged people to wash their hands, cover their mouths when they cough and stay home when they're sick.

"This tragic death underscores the need for people to remain vigilant in preventing the spread of illness," said Martin, referring to the child.

-ASSOCIATED PRESS

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