Death Toll From Flu Season Jumps in California

Eastern Health

"It is not too late to get a flu shot, and some people who are sick with influenza may need to be treated with an antiviral medication".

The county's death total continues to rise, with 11 deaths reported this week by public health officials.

- There have been 176 positive influenza tests between October and December and one death associated with the flu in Marin County, the county's Department Health and Human Services said today. To protect the family's privacy, the Department can only confirm that the death occurred downstate.

"Flu is everywhere in the USA right now", Dr Dan Jernigan, director of the influenza division at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, told reporters on a conference call.

People most at risk for severe illness and complications include pregnant women, children younger than 5 and especially those younger than 2, people 65 and older and people with chronic conditions such as asthma, diabetes, heart disease and weakened immune systems.

"Flu is everywhere in the U.S. right now", Dr. Daniel Jernigan, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's influenza division, said during a media briefing Friday. It usually doesn't start until mid-January, but this year, we started seeing cases around November.


Most people in California and nationwide are catching a strain of influenza A known as H3N2, which tends to be deadlier than other strains. While their research and work is generally very effective, sometimes an unexpected mutation in the virus can cause a vaccine to be less effective. H3N2 was to blame for Australia's most recent, brutal flu season, which led to record numbers of sick people as well as the nickname "Aussie flu".

"Just remember, the best way to prevent influenza is to get a vaccine".

Where the real problems begin is the mixing of both the Influenza A strain H3N2 and Influenza B. While the B strain is covered by flu vaccines, they aren't so effective against the H3N2 strain. It takes about two weeks for the flu shot to take effect. If soap and water are not available, use an alcohol-based hand rub.

Cover your nose and mouth with the crook of your arm when coughing or sneezing.

Clean and disinfect surfaces and objects that may be contaminated with germs like the flu.

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