By Stephen Smith, Globe Staff
Three more Massachusetts adults, all who had serious underlying health problems, have died from swine flu, state public health authorities said this afternoon.
Since the virus was first detected in the state in April, 10 people have contracted fatal infections. Nationally, 302 people had died from the virus as of last week, not including the most recent Massachusetts deaths.
The latest Massachusetts victims include a 53-year-old Essex County resident who died Saturday; a 20-year-old Norfolk County resident who died Friday; and a 21-year-old Hampden County resident whose date of death was not immediately available.
The identities and genders of the victims were not disclosed because of patient confidentiality rules.
The virus has proven especially dangerous to people already coping with respiratory ailments such as asthma, heart disease, diabetes, and conditions that impair the body's ability to fight invading germs. And as the deaths of the 20- and 21-year-olds demonstrate, the germ known by the scientific name H1N1 has also proven to be a particular threat to young adults, as well as children.
A federal advisory panel yesterday recommended that children and young adults be among the groups that are at the top of the list to receive a vaccine against swine flu, which could be available as early as October.
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