Fifth Sacramento County victim dies of H1N1 flu virus
Health officials announced Friday that another local man has died after becoming infected by the H1N1 influenza strain, bringing the total number of flu fatalities in the past week to five.
County spokesperson Laura McCasland said a 53-year-old man died in Sacramento County with influenza symptoms. He had not been hospitalized and it was unknown whether he had any other medical conditions – or whether he’d had a flu shot, which are recommended but not always 100 percent effective. McCasland said the county’s public health department always attempts to determine whether a victim has been vaccinated, but the information can be difficult to obtain.
The number of people admitted to hospital intensive care units with flu-like symptoms in Sacramento County has ballooned from 10 a week ago to 37 on Friday, McCasland said.
The predominant flu strain this year is influenza A H1N1 — also known as pH1N1 or H1N1 2009, because it is a version of the virus that caused a pandemic in 2009. All five people who died in the past week tested positive for H1N1, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said can tend to strike otherwise healthy young adults or middle-aged people. The other fatalities were ages 37, 46, 56 and 61.
Of the victims, McCasland said Friday that “not all of them have had underlying medical conditions.” Symptoms of the flu include fever, body aches, respiratory problems, fatigue and a sore throat.
County health officials urge residents to get a flu vaccine; they recommend one vaccine per season. You can find a retail outlet or pharmacy offering the vaccine near you by visiting flushot.healthmap.org and typing in your ZIP code.
It’s typical for the flu to peak in January and February, CDC officials say. Generally, the flu hits children younger than 5 and adults over 65 the hardest. This season, however, people aged 18 to 64 years account for 61 percent of reported hospitalized cases nationwide, the CDC reported.
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