Dr. Robert Levin, Ventura County Health Officer, announced today that Ventura County’s first flu-related death has occurred. A resident, under 65 years of age, died after having been hospitalized with the complications related to the H1N1 virus. The victim had other underlying conditions which may have put him at risk for severe H1N1 illness.
“Flu, including the H1N1 strain, is on the rise throughout the state and, over the past week, influenza-related deaths have increased by 50 in California,” said Dr. Robert Levin, VCPH Health Officer. So far this season, the California Dept. of Public Health (CDPH) has confirmed 95 flu-related deaths statewide.
In Ventura County, there have been 23 flu-related hospitalizations so far this season with six patients requiring treatment in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU). With the exception of the one death, all other ICU patients have been released from the hospital. During the 2012 – 2013 flu season, Ventura County had three flu-related deaths.
“The peak of the flu season usually occurs in late January through February, so there is still time to benefit from a flu vaccine,” said Levin. According to the CDPH, influenza vaccine remains available and there is no widespread shortage of anti-virals for treatment of the flu.
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 illness prevention in an effort to 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 degrees 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 a part of a cluster of influenza-like illness or symptoms
People experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home from work or school and limit contact with others.
For a list of Ventura County flu-shot clinics, visit the Ventura County Public Health’s website clinics page: bit.ly/1avFeAS. For more information about where to get a flu shot, call VCPH Clinics at: (805) 981-5221.