13 dead due to H1N1 flu strain in the Central Valley

Sunday, January 19, 2014
By Paul Martin

Friday, January 17, 2014

FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) — California health officials say the flu season appears to be peaking early and is more severe than in years past. Friday morning Fresno County officials announced a sixth person has died from flu-related complications, bringing the total number of flu related deaths to 13 in the Central Valley.

Officials say the man was in his 40’s and had underlying health conditions like many of the others and are now urging everyone to get vaccinated.

Rebecca Perez and her family are taking extra precautions to protect themselves against the flu after her sister was diagnosed with the H1N1 strain of the flu virus and is now recovering at home.

“My doctor told me I’m highly at risk so it’s very important for to me to protect myself and my child,” Perez said.

Perez is at risk because she is expecting a baby. State health officials say this year H1N1 is causing more severe cases in otherwise healthy young adults and middle-aged people. Especially those who are pregnant obese or have medical conditions such as lung disease, heart disease and immune-suppressing illnesses like HIV and cancer.

“Currently 20 cases have been reported to the dept. of public health in Fresno County. These are severe illness related to flu, which means they were admitted to intensive care units, and now we’re on six deaths reported to us,” David Luchini with the Fresno County department of public health said.

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