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In brief: Spokane woman dies from influenza

A Spokane County woman in her 40s has died from influenza.

She had underlying health conditions and had been hospitalized, according to public health officials.

She was the fourth Eastern Washington person killed by the flu. Her name and other specifics about her illness are being withheld, said Kim Papich, spokeswoman for the Spokane Regional Health District. The others who died of the flu include a Lincoln County man in his 40s; a Grant County man in his 40s; and a Tri-Cities woman in her 50s.

This year’s early arrival of the flu season has put 135 people in Spokane hospitals, exceeding the norm and far outpacing last year’s 31 flu hospitalizations at this time.

There have been seven people with the flu admitted to Kootenai Medical Center.

This year’s flu strain is a type of the H1N1 virus – commonly called swine flu – that created a pandemic in 2009.

John Stucke

Police still identifying Spokane River body

The Spokane County Sheriff’s Office wants help to identify a woman’s body pulled from the Spokane River on Friday afternoon after an autopsy proved inconclusive.

The body was recovered about a mile east of the North Argonne Road bridge. There were no signs of trauma.The woman is thought to have been in her 40s or 50s, about 5 feet tall and 145 pounds, and white or Native American with shoulder-length brown hair.

She was wearing a green sweater, black stretch pants and had no tattoos or jewelry when found.

Detectives are combing missing person records and have obtained fingerprints from the body.

Kip Hill

Reward offered for info on dog poisonings

A $5,000 reward is offered for information about two attempted dog poisonings in northwest Spokane.

The Humane Society of the United States wants clues in two incidents near West Wellesley Avenue and North I Street that left two dogs seriously injured. A dog named Charlie ate beef laced with strange white granules, according to investigators. Tests of Charlie’s blood revealed phosphorus, and he was rushed into surgery. He survived, and the tainted meat is being tested at Washington State University, according to SCRAPS.

Ringo, a dog that lives across the street from Charlie, had a seizure on New Year’s Day. Investigators suspect the dog cases are linked.

SCRAPS noted there were no barking complaints at the addresses.

Those living in the neighborhood are asked to be on the lookout for poisoning symptoms in their pets, including vomiting that smells like garlic.

Kip Hill