July 30 2009, 8:43 AM
Swine flu, which isn't believed to be any harsher than any other flu, can nonetheless be as deadly as any other strain. An unnamed woman in her 40s has died from the H1N1 virus in El Paso County, according to The Denver Post---the worst outcome of Colorado's 171 confirmed cases. Cases first surfaced in the state in April, and the virus hit pandemic levels in June. Across the United States, more than 300 people have died from swine flu. "We want the public to be aware that H1N1 flu can cause serious illness, and it is important that our residents take steps to prevent the spread of H1N1 flu and to protect themselves and their families," says Kandi Buckland, El Paso County's public-health director (via 7News). Meanwhile, the Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, has identified gaps in pandemic preparedness that need to be addressed.