LOS ANGELES—Seven deaths from the new flu H1N1 strain have already been confirmed. The flu has been declared widespread inCalifornia since it hit Northern California and stealthily made its way toLos Angeles. The strain of influenza is believed to be of the same swine flu variation that arrived in 2009.
The flu is said to target those younger in age; the people who have contracted the virus so far have been under the age of 65. The California Department of Public Health and The Center on Disease Control both suggest that the best way to protect against the various strains of flu is by taking the flu shot.
The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) explains that the traditional flu vaccine protects against three strains of the influenza virus: H1N1 and H3N2, both of which are strains of Influenza A, and Influenza B. A new vaccination has been prepared to protect against the four strains of the influenza virus that are now present.
Most of the deaths have been caused by the original “swine flu” virus, H1N1; but other deaths that have occurred from the flu season have yet to be determined. An update on the deaths from the flu this year has been discussed by Director and State Health Officer, Ron Chapman, in a report titled: ‘Severe Influenza Update.’
The report gave advice for clinicians on how to deal with patients who had the influenza virus; though it details how to go about treating the infected and what medical procedures to follow, and “while this information is consistent with CDC recommendations, it is not meant to represent official recommendations from CDPH or CDC.”
The report was released on January 3, 2014 and states that the virus appears to affect those who are middle age and younger. Chapman reports that though the H1N1 strain is responsible for most of the deaths, it has not changed much since its pandemic in 2009. Since the flu season generally runs from January through February, more “influenza activity is expected to increase substantially in the coming weeks to months.”
By Irena Taylor