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First flu-related death reported in Fresno County

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The Fresno County Department of Public Health (FCDPH) has confirmed the first influenza related death in a Fresno County resident. The person was under the age of 65.

The Health Department says nationwide, between October 1, 2017 through December 9, 2017, there have been 63 influenza-associated deaths, of individuals 18-64 years old and 8 influenza-associated pediatric deaths (0-17 years old).

“This tragic, untimely death reminds us that we all must take action to prevent infection with influenza. Protect yourself. Protect your loved ones. Protect our community. Vaccinate,” says Dr. Ken Bird, Fresno County Health Officer.

The flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by influenza viruses. It can cause mild to severe illness.

Health officials say serious outcomes of flu infection can result in hospitalization or death. Some people, such as older people, young children, and people with certain health conditions, are at high risk for serious flu complications. The best way to prevent the flu is by getting vaccinated each year.

Health officials say the 2017-18 flu vaccine is designed to protect against the viruses that are most likely to cause disease this season, and while it cannot prevent all cases of flu, it is the best defense against the disease and its potential serious complications that can include pneumonia and death. It takes about two weeks for protection to develop after the vaccination, and protection lasts several months to a year.

If children eight years or younger are receiving their first flu vaccination, they should receive two vaccinations this season, separated by a period of four weeks.

Additional information regarding flu vaccination opportunities can be found at www.flu.gov. For more information regarding seasonal influenza, please contact the Immunization Program at (559) 600-3550 or visit http://fcdph.org/flu.

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