A villainous virus


Nancy Pinnella pictured here from her senior photo in 1984, passed away from the flu on February 1st.

There was a recent death that broke the news regarding a Monte Vista alumna.

Graduating in 1984, Nancy Pinnella passed away on January 25th from the virus H1N1, more commonly known as swine flu.

A member of short flags in high school and marathon runner thereafter, Pinnella was fit and active throughout her life.

Geometry teacher Jennifer Hall also graduated in 1984 and knew Pinnella well.

“If she was a student here at Monte Vista today, she would be the first student you would nominate for ‘students of excellence’” Hall said.

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommends getting vaccinated for this year if you haven’t already. Swine flu is deadly and is capable of leading to other illnesses, like pneumonia and strep throat.

“Her death was preventable by a shot, that’s one of the reasons it is so sad,” Hall explained.

After Pinnella’s passing, her brothers John and Rich have been advocating for everyone to get flu shots. While they don’t prevent the flu, the shots do greatly help in fighting against it.

“I am not a child nor elderly, so why should I get one?” Hall stated. “Nancy went home from work feeling sick on Wednesday, was on life support on Thursday, and died on Saturday. It was that fast.”

According to the CDC, as of January over 27% of the US and its territories population have confirmed cases of swine flu.

Currently the flu isn’t as contagious or widespread as it was in 2009. With most of the U.S. population already being exposed to this flu strain, the human immune system is much better than it was at responding to the virus stopping it before the symptoms get out of hand.

That being said, the virus has mutated since 2009 and can still be deadly. People with chronic conditions, like asthma, should be especially careful since it puts them at a higher risk for getting the flu, as well as any of the complications that come with it.

So please, for everyone’s well being at school, wash your hands regularly and cover your mouth when you cough or sneeze.