Fort's flu death was military's first

U.S. Department of Defense officials confirmed Thursday that a Fort Jackson soldier who died because of the H1N1 flu virus was the military's first.

The armed forces already have an aggressive plan to minimize the flu's impact and that strategy has not changed since the soldier's death was reported, defense department officials said.

Spec. Christopher Hogg, 23, of Deltona, Fla., died Sept. 10 of pneumonia that was caused by the H1N1 virus, commonly called the swine flu.

Air Force Lt. Col. Rene White, a defense department spokeswoman, said no other deaths from the flu had been confirmed among the branches of the U.S. armed forces.

"Based on what I know right now, there are no other known deaths from H1N1," White said Thursday. Still, military health officials were reviewing records to verify that no other troops had died from the virus, she said.

An autopsy did not find any other health problems that would have made Hogg especially vulnerable to the flu, said Brig. Gen. Brad May, Fort Jackson's commander.

Fort Jackson is working to keep the flu at bay so it can continue its mission of training soldiers, May said.

Army and Fort Jackson officials already had an aggressive plan in place to minimize the flu's impact on troops when Hogg died.

George Wright, an Army spokesman, said no procedures had changed since the death.

Hogg first reported to sick call with a fever Sept. 1. He was transferred to Palmetto Health Richland Sept. 3. He died seven days later, with his family by his side. Hogg was in his fifth week of basic training and would have graduated Oct. 15.

Since Sept. 1, 145 people have been hospitalized and seven people have died from the H1N1 virus in South Carolina, according to Thursday statistics issued by the S.C. Department of Health and Environmental Control.