February 20, 2010
Virginia's health commissioner says 36 deaths in the state have been linked to the swine flu outbreak.
The commissioner, Dr. Karen Remley, said that about 30
percent of the deaths occurred among black Virginians, who comprise about 20 percent of the population.
Remley says a study of 10 states, including Virginia, also found
that 35 percent of the people hospitalized with the H1N1 virus were
African-Americans. Those states have a combined black population of about 16 percent.
Remley says the reasons for the disparity are unknown. Some
health officials speculate that higher rates of such underlying
conditions as diabetes and asthma in blacks may be a factor.