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Orange County's First Flu Death This Season Is a San Juan Capistrano Woman

Unidentified, she was only 28 years old. Experts say this year's strain is afflicting young and middle-aged adults.

The beginning stages of an influenza infection. Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The beginning stages of an influenza infection. Image courtesy Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Originally posted at 4:51 p.m. Jan. 2, 2014.

A 28-year-old San Juan Capistrano woman was confirmed today as the first person to die from an influenza-related illness this season in Orange County.

The unidentified woman, who died sometime last week, is the first flu-related death in Orange County of anyone younger than 65, according to Deanne Thompson of the Orange County Health Care Agency. Flu-related deaths of people 65 or older are not reported in the state.

Reports of the disease have been on the rise over the past couple of weeks, Thompson said.

So far, there have been eight “severe” cases of the flu this season, up from three at this time last year, Thompson said. A case is categorized as severe if the victim must be hospitalized in an intensive care unit or dies, Thompson added.

Most of the cases are Influenza A, and the majority of those are because of a strain called pH1N1, Thompson said.

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials issued an alert recently about how the strain has afflicted young and middle-aged adults.

Officials are encouraging residents to get flu shots, Thompson said.

There's “plenty of vaccine available,” Thompson said.

Flu shots cannot cause anyone to get the virus, Thompson said.

Another way to help stem the tide of flu is to avoid going to work when sick, covering the nose and mouth when coughing and sneezing and washing hands thoroughly, Thompson said.

Nearby, San Diego County has seen an uptick in the flu rate but so far, no deaths.

To get more information on how to get a flu shot, call (800) 564-8448.

--City News Service

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Rhen Kohan January 03, 2014 at 03:16 PM
A report causing fear without all if the facts. So important to know all the facts not included here, e.g. What was the underlying condition this woman had that was mentioned in other reports that possibly weakened her condition plus the CDC reported facts on effectiveness of the flu shot which is LOWER than mostly reported. Research the CDC reports and Mercola.com on flu shots before you follow mainstream fears and advertising. If you get a flu shot ask for the one without the mercury-based preservative called thimerosal.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) January 03, 2014 at 03:47 PM
I couldn't get any further details (I did ask).
Smokey Bear January 03, 2014 at 04:08 PM
Flu shots make me sick every time, so I cannot get one. I don't believe in them because I see the people who get them & still get sick & spread it around the office.
Nom de Plume February 04, 2014 at 01:18 PM
Smokey, Unless you are one of the tiny fraction of one percent of those that are allergic to the ingredients in a flu shot, I truly doubt that you get sick "every time" you've had one. When was the last time this happened? Did you discuss with your doctor? A flu shot will not keep you from "getting sick" (there are many other relatively harmless viruses that are not the flu that are not inhibited by these vaccinations) - but it will, in a large majority of cases, prevent you from getting influenza. My suggestion: get vaccinated! See: http://www.cdc.gov/flu/about/qa/flushot.htm

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