July 30, 2009 (San Diego) – Four women, all with underlying health conditions, have died from the panedemic H1N1 influenza virus (formerly called swine flu), the County of San Diego Health and Human Services Agency reported yesterday. To date, San Diego County has had 735 confirmed cases, including 12 deaths.
The women ranged from 30 to 53 in age, including one who was visiting San Diego from out of state and will not be included in local statistics.
“It’s very unusual to have flu here in mid-summer. The normal flu season is generally over by May,” Tom Christensen, media and public relations specialist for San Diego County Health & Human Services Agency told East County Magazine.
Fortunately, he confirmed that no individuals locally have been identified with the drug-resistant strain of H1N1 which has surfaced in a few cases in Europe. “It appears that the virulence of the strain is similar to the regular, season flu, but we continue to gather data to assess this,” Christensen concluded.
Spokesperson Holly Crawford said the cases diagnosed locally are only the "tip of the iceberg" because most patients with the illness don't visit a physician or get tested. "It's a pandemic, so it's throughout the county," she noted.
The public is encouraged to stay home from work or school if they have influenza-like illness or symptoms similar to the seasonal flu which includes fever, cough, sore throat, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. If a person with underlying medical conditions is experiencing influenza-like illness or symptoms, they should contact their primary care physician in a timely manner.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s Advisory Committee on Immunization Practices (ACIP) met today to make recommendations for use of vaccine against novel influenza A (H1N1).
The committee met to develop recommendations on who should receive vaccine against novel influenza A (H1N1) when it becomes available, and to determine which groups of the population should be prioritized if the vaccine is initially available in extremely limited quantities.
The committee recommended the vaccination efforts focus on five key populations. Vaccination efforts are designed to help reduce the impact and spread of novel H1N1. The key populations include those who are at higher risk of disease or complications, those who are likely to come in contact with novel H1N1, and those who could infect young infants. When vaccine is first available, the committee recommended that programs and providers try to vaccinate:
* pregnant women,
* people who live with or care for children younger than 6 months of age,
* health care and emergency services personnel,
* persons between the ages of 6 months through 24 years of age, and
* people from ages 25 through 64 years who are at higher risk for novel H1N1 because of chronic health disorders or compromised immune systems.
The groups listed above total approximately 159 million people in the United States.