FLU KILLS 2 IN COUNTY

The Fresno Bee - - Front Page - BY CRESENCIO RO­DRIGUEZ-DEL­GADO cdel­[email protected]­nobee.com Cresencio Ro­driguez-Del­gado: 559-441-6304, @cres_guez

The sea­son’s first two flu-linked deaths were re­ported for Fresno County res­i­dents younger than 65.

The first two flu-re­lated deaths this sea­son of Fresno County res­i­dents un­der the age of 65 were re­ported Fri­day.

The Fresno County Depart­ment of Pub­lic Health con­firmed that one man, 62, and one woman, 59, were the two dead from the flu, though it re­mained un­clear to health depart­ment of­fi­cials when they died. The health depart­ment did not get re­ports on whether the man and woman were vac­ci­nated.

Of­fi­cials at the health depart­ment said the re­cent deaths bring the num­ber of flu deaths in Fresno County to six since Oc­to­ber 2018. Four were over the age of 65. Flu deaths of those un­der 65 are wor­ri­some to health of­fi­cials.

“When we see deaths that are less than 65 years

THE RE­CENT DEATHS BRING THE NUM­BER OF FLU DEATHS IN FRESNO COUNTY TO SIX SINCE OC­TO­BER.

old, it shows us that the virus is get­ting stronger,” said Sara Gold­graben, pub­lic health of­fi­cer. She said those with asthma, di­a­betes or other un­der­ly­ing con­di­tions are at higher risk when they get the flu.

The depart­ment is ask­ing the pub­lic to help pre­vent the flu from spread­ing fur­ther in the county. Health Ed­u­ca­tor Leti­cia Ber­ber said the flu vac­cine may be the strong­est shield, es­pe­cially among those who don’t al­ready have the flu. She also sug­gested peo­ple wash their hands.

“You’re get­ting the flu vac­cine not only to pro­tect your­self, but to pro­tect those vul­ner­a­ble ones,” Ber­ber said. Any­one older than six months can be­gin get­ting the flu vac­cine.

Since Oc­to­ber 2018, 42 peo­ple in Cal­i­for­nia have died from the flu, ac­cord­ing to the Los An­ge­les Times. Half of the statewide deaths this flu sea­son, which be­gins in Oc­to­ber and typ­i­cally goes un­til May, have been of peo­ple younger than 65 years of age.

This year’s flu has shown to be weaker than last year’s, which claimed the lives of an es­ti­mated 80,000 Amer­i­cans, ac­cord­ing to the Cen­ters for Dis­ease Con­trol and Pre­ven­tion. Ber­ber said last year’s high death rate could be at­trib­uted to the flu sea­son start­ing ear­lier and end­ing later.

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