Mountain View Voice

News - February 7, 2014

County has Bay Area's highest number of flu deaths

The number of people who died in Santa Clara County during the current flu season has increased by two to 10, the most of any Bay Area county, public health officials reported last week.

The county public health department confirmed on Jan. 31 that the two additional flu victims, men aged 43 and 54, died in the county in January. There have been nine deaths in Santa Clara County for the month and 10 since the flu season began in October, department spokeswoman Amy Cornell said on Jan. 31.

The two newest victims suffered from the H1N1 flu virus but also had "underlying medical conditions" that might be considered as factors in their deaths, Cornell said.

Of the 10 people who have died from flu symptoms in the county since October, six were females and four males, ranging in age from 41 to 62, and nine had the H1N1 strain, according to Cornell.

The flu season extends to April, she said.

Meanwhile, the California Department of Public Health announced that at least 147 people have died statewide from the flu so far this season, not including the two new deaths in Santa Clara County.

The number of people who died from the flu during the entire 2012-2013 season in California was only 106, state public health officials reported.

Deaths from the flu in other Bay Area counties this season include at least four in Alameda, five in Contra Costa, two in Marin, two in Monterey, four in San Mateo, one in Santa Cruz and four in Sonoma, state officials said.

The Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency said today that a man between 20 and 30 years old had been admitted to the county's intensive care unit with the flu, the ninth such ICU case this season, including one person who died.

People at the highest risk for the flu are the elderly, pregnant women, infants and those with existing health problems. Symptoms include fever, coughing, sore throat, runny nose, head and body aches and fatigue, state health officials said.

Cornell said that H1N1 is dangerous because it can afflict people of all ages and hits younger people particularly hard.

The health department recommends that people obtain flu shots, which this year can help prevent H1N1, Cornell said.

The public can get shots without an appointment at Santa Clara County's public health department at 967 Lenzen Ave. in San Jose from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. and 1 p.m. to 4:30 p.m., for a fee of about $63 that includes a medical examination, Cornell said. Vaccine is also available at multiple locations in Mountain View, including the free RotaCare Clinic on the El Camino Hospital campus, Palo Alto Medical Foundation's Mountain View Center, Kaiser, Safeway and various chain drug stores.

The county does not provide shots to pregnant women or people under the age of 18, according to the department's website.

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