Kern County health office: 2 dead of flu, flu-like illness

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX) Two people have died of flu or a flu-like illness.

Dr. Claudia Jonah of the Kern County Department of Public Health Services announced Tuesday that a 30-year-old woman and a 62-year-old woman died.

The younger woman had confirmed H1N1 flu virus and was hospitalized, but she also had unspecified "underlying conditions which may have put her at risk for severe H1N1 illness."

The older woman was hospitalized with flu-like symptoms, but health officials are awaiting results to confirm she had the H1N1 flu virus.

The health department said it wouldn't release the names and the women.

Thirty people have been hospitalized locally this season for the flu or flu-like symptoms, and only one had gotten their flu shot.

"It is with regret that I inform our community that two of our members have died from influenza or influenza like illnesses." Jonah said in a news release. "Flu, including the H1N1 strain, is present throughout our community. The vast majority of flu cases experience mild or moderate illness and recover. Tragically, in these cases, these individuals did not recover."

Jonah and the health department reminded people to cover their coughs, wash their hands and stay home if they are sick.

The health department also asked people to seek care if they have the following flu conditions:

  • fever higher than 100 degrees and a cough and/or sore throat
  • shortness of breath
  • contacts with a confirmed flu case
  • in a high-risk setting for transmission (e.g. school, prison, camp, or other residential institution)
  • part of a cluster with flu-like illness or symptoms