Flu-Related Death in Alameda County – At Least 9 in Bay Area So Far

Health officials urge local residents to get a flu vaccination if they haven't done so already.

The H1N1 virus in a tissue sample, image courtesy of the CDC
The H1N1 virus in a tissue sample, image courtesy of the CDC
By Dixie Jordan

A recent death in Alameda County has been linked to the flu, a county public health official said today, Thursday.

Statewide, four influenza-related deaths in this flu season were reported to the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) by last Friday, Jan. 3. The state releases those numbers weekly.

As of today, at least nine flu-related deaths have been reported in the nine-county Bay Area: 1 in Alameda, 1 in Contra Costa, 2 in Marin, 1 in San Francisco, 1 in San Mateo, 2 in Santa Clara and 1 in Sonoma. Two have been reported also in Santa Cruz County.

The Alameda County death was confirmed by Erica Pan, M.D., director of the county Public Health Department's division of communicable disease control and prevention.

Pan said the person who died in Alameda County was under 65 years of age but did not provide additional details.

She said that only flu-related deaths in persons aged 64 and under are legally reportable. 

Most health officials believe flu-related deaths are under-reported, Pan said. 

She said flu vaccine is in good supply in Alameda County this year and urged local residents to get a vaccination if they haven't already done so.

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The H1N1 virus -- sometimes called swine flu -- surfaced in the United States in 2009, causing the first global pandemic in more than 40 years and resulting in a number of hospitalizations and deaths, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The public is advised to get yearly flu vaccinations to protect against H1N1 as well as other types of flu viruses. Information about where to get vaccinated can be found at http://cchealth.org/flu/vaccination.php.

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