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Increased Influenza Activity in Marin, Including 2 Deaths

Two recent local deaths have been tied to influenza, Marin County’s first during the 2013-2014 influenza season, according to Dr. Matt Willis, Marin County Public Health Officer.

The first occurred Dec. 27 when a 63-year-old man with significant chronic medical conditions died. On Jan. 6, a 48-year-old previously healthy woman died of an influenza-related complication. Both patients were Marin residents and were hospitalized in intensive care. Neither had received the influenza vaccine.

In addition, six other influenza patients have been hospitalized in Marin, most being young or middle-aged adults.

The predominant influenza virus nationally and in Marin this season is influenza A H1N1, the same virus that caused the 2009-2010 H1N1 pandemic. Five Marin residents under the age of 65 died of influenza that season (Influenza deaths are not reported in people aged 65 or older).

Marin Public Health urges residents to get a flu vaccination if they haven’t already. This year’s vaccine protects against H1N1 and other influenza strains. The following precautions are recommended to prevent the spread of flu virus, including H1N1:

Cover up. Cover your mouth and nose when coughing and sneezing.  Have tissues handy. Place used tissues in a covered trash receptacle.

Wash up. Scrub your hands often with soap and water especially after coughs or sneezes. Alcohol-based hand cleaners also are effective.

Hunker down. If you are sick with a flu-like illness, stay home from work or school. Try to avoid close contact with anyone who is sick. Do not touch eyes, nose or mouth.

For more information, visit the California Department of Public Health’s (CDPH) website and check www.marinhhs.org for updates. 

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

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