Two die from flu-related causes; first flu-related deaths of the season in the county

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - Two people in Kern County died of flu-related complications Tuesday. Officials said they were the first flu-related casualties of the season county-wide.

A 30 year-old woman died after being hospitalized with the H1N1 flu virus. The woman had other underlying conditions which may have put her at risk for severe H1N1 illness.

A 62 year-old woman was hospitalized with influenza-like symptoms died Tuesday. While test results confirming H1N1 are pending, officials said it seems very likely this second death is also flu-related.

Health officials will not be releasing the identities of the patients.

“Flu, including the H1N1 strain, is present throughout our community," Dr. Claudia Jonah, Kern County’s Health Officer said. "The vast majority of flu cases experience mild or moderate illness and recover. Tragically, in these cases, these individuals did not recover.”

There have been several influenza deaths in California in recent weeks. There have also been 30 hospitalizations to date in Kern County due to influenza like illness.

The Kern County Department of Public Health Services is coordinating with state and federal agencies in conducting flu surveillance and implementing measures to reduce the impact of the flu virus.

The peak of the flu season is usually late January through February, officials said. Dr. Jonah said there is still time to benefit from a flu vaccine.

"With the exception of one, all reported local hospitalized cases had not received their flu shot”, Dr. Jonah said.

For more information, please call 661-321-3000. You may also visit the Kern County Department of
Public Health Services’ website at www.co.kern.ca.us/health.
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