H1N1 flu strain hits hospitals hard

Thursday, January 16, 2014
By Paul Martin

By Paul Sisson
JAN. 15, 2014

The same H1N1 flu strain that hit pandemic levels five years ago is surging through the region and is hitting young people harder than usual, according to a report Wednesday by the county health department.

Six people who tested positive for H1N1 died last week, bringing the total for the season to seven, the San Diego County Health and Human Services Agency said.

The number of confirmed flu cases rose to 677 in the second week of the month, up from 361 the previous week. But the number of people arriving in emergency rooms with flu-like symptoms held steady, hovering at 8 percent of patients for the second week in a row.

Dr. Eric McDonald, the county’s deputy public health officer, said it is impossible to say whether case levels will fall or continue to rise.

“You never know the peak until you have passed it,” McDonald said. “But I would not anticipate it would be as bad as the 2009-2010 year because we have a readily available vaccine, whereas we didn’t back then.”

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