NYC school official's death tied to swine flu
NEW YORK - An assistant principal died yesterday, the city's first fatality linked to the swine flu virus.
Mitchell Wiener, 55, who worked at Susan B. Anthony middle school in Queens, had been sick for nearly a week before his school was closed Thursday. He had been hospitalized and on a ventilator.
He had been overwhelmed by the illness despite treatment with an experimental drug, said Ole Pedersen, a spokesman for Flushing Hospital Medical Center, where Wiener had been a patient since Wednesday.
His death was the sixth linked to swine flu in the United States. Most of the other victims were suffering from other health problems. The New York Times reported that Wiener suffered from gout, but it was unclear whether that complicated his condition.
The city's first outbreak of swine flu occurred three weeks ago, when about 700 students and 300 other people associated with a Catholic high school in Queens became ill after the return of several students from vacations in Mexico, the epicenter of the outbreak.
Five more city schools will close today because of concern for swine flu, bringing the total to 11. Those schools in Queens - four public and one Catholic - would close for up to five school days, city officials said. Three of the public schools are in the same building.
Each school had students with flu-like illness last week. There were no documented cases of swine flu, or the H1N1 virus, at any of those schools, said Jessica Scaperotti, a spokeswoman for the city Department of Health and Mental Hygiene.
Besides Wiener, no one else in New York City has become seriously ill from the virus.