Two Kern County women dead from flu

BAKERSFIELD, CA (Tuesday, Jan. 7, 2014 at 4:40 p.m.)—Kern County Department of Public Health Services released this notice today about two flu-related deaths.

Bakersfield – Dr. Claudia Jonah, Kern County’s Health Officer, announced the county’s first flu-related casualties today. A 30 year-old female County resident died after being hospitalized with the H1N1 flu virus. The female had other underlying conditions which may have put her at risk for severe H1N1 illness. Furthermore, a 62 year-old female hospitalized with influenza like symptoms has passed away today. While test results confirming H1N1 are pending, its seems very likely this second death is also flu-related. Health officials will not be releasing the identities of the patients.

“It is with regret that I inform our community that two of our members have died from influenza or influenza like illnesses.” Dr. Jonah said. “Flu, including the H1N1 strain, is present throughout our community. The vast majority of flu cases experience mild or moderate illness and recover. Tragically, in these cases, these individuals did not recover.”
There have been several influenza deaths in California in recent weeks. There have also been 30 hospitalizations to date in Kern County due to influenza like illness. The Kern County Department of Public Health Services is coordinating with state and federal agencies in conducting flu surveillance and implementing measures to reduce the impact of the flu virus.
“The peak of the flu season is usually late January through February, so there is still time to benefit from a flu vaccine. With the exception of one, all reported local hospitalized cases had not received their flu shot”, reports Dr. Jonah.

An annual flu vaccine is the first and most important step in protecting against the flu. It is also important to practice the three “C’s” of disease prevention in an effort to help prevent the spread of germs:
 Cover your cough
 Clean your hands
 Confine sick people at home

If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, please call your healthcare provider.
 A fever higher than 100F and a cough and/or sore throat.
 Shortness of breath.
 Have had contacts with a confirmed influenza case.
 Are in a high-risk setting for transmission (e.g. school, prison, camp, or other residential institution).
 Are part of a cluster with influenza-like illness or symptoms.

People experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.
For more information, please call 661-321-3000. You may also visit the Kern County Department of Public Health Services’ website at

This is part of the January 3, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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