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Kern County reports 1st local flu-related death of the season

Michelle Placencia is seen in a photo as her family talks about her death this week from complications with the flu, Friday, Jan. 19, 2019, in Bakersfield, Calif. (KBAK/KBFX photo)

The Kern County Public Health Services Department has confirmed the first local flu-related death of someone under age 65 for this flu season.

Michelle Placencia was just 39. She was a mother, wife and had a career in real estate. And, her family said she was healthy until she got the flu over the weekend.

Her illness progressed rapidly. Tuesday, she went to a doctor for antibiotics, and by Wednesday she was being rushed to the hospital in her final hours.

“I lost my daughter. I don’t want anyone else to have to go through this," Wes Maroney said, choking back tears.

The family urged people to get a flu shot and stay home if they get sick to avoid spreading the disease.


County health officials say this is a very active flu season. There have been 74 flu-related deaths statewide for people under age 65, they said.

RELATED STORY | CDC: Flu widespread in 49 states, 10 more children have died due to the virus

Young children, pregnant women, older adults and people with chronic health conditions are at the most risk for serious complications from the flu.

The county offers flu shots for $9 at its Public Health Clinic, 1800 Mt. Vernon Ave. Call (661 ) 321-3000 for more information.

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