H1N1 rears its ugly head

Monday, January 20, 2014
By Paul Martin

Tulare woman joins growing list of dead in south Valley

Jan. 20, 2014

State health reports released Friday indicate the number of flu-related deaths in California is on a rapid rise and local health officials confirmed Thursday that a 43-year-old Tulare County woman is among the dead.

A Tulare County Sheriff’s Department official familiar with the situation confirmed that the woman who died was from Tulare. She died Jan. 14.

The predominant strain of influenza this season is H1N1 — a strain that first surfaced in 2009, killing over 12,000 Americans and hospitalizing 270,000 others between April 2009 and March 2010, according to the Centers for Disease Control.

“[H1N1] has been coming every year since then, and this year is the worst since [2009],” said Tulare County Health Officer Karen Haught. “Statistically, there are more severe cases so far then any other year after 2009.”

The latest reports from the state’s public health department indicated Friday that influenza has claimed the lives of at least 45 individuals in 20 counties throughout the state. The report also cites an additional 50 deaths that have been reported by counties that are waiting state confirmation.

In the south Valley, 19 deaths have been reported by public health departments in Tulare, Kern, Kings and Fresno Counties. Only three of them are listed in the latest state report. As of Friday, Tulare County had one, Kings County had three, Fresno County had six and Kern County had nine.

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