Monday, 17 June 2024

REGIONAL: Mendocino County suspects first H1N1 virus death

UKIAH – Mendocino County officials are reporting what they believe is that area's first death from the H1N1 influenza.


A 42-year-old Mendocino County man died Aug. 21 with probable H1N1 influenza, according to Mendocino County Public Health Officer Dr. Marvin Trotter.


Trotter said confirmatory tests are pending from the State Public Health Laboratory.


This man – who had a history of longstanding medical issues – is the first person in Mendocino County suspected of dying with the H1N1 virus, said Trotter, who extended his agency's deepest sympathies to the family.


“While we have identified 12 laboratory confirmed cases in Mendocino County through testing, we are following current state and federal testing recommendations which are to test only those hospitalized patients and deaths,” Trotter said. “We want to emphasize that there are hundreds of H1N1 cases in the county. The vast majority of these cases have mild or moderate illness, and the patients recover without medical treatment.”


As of Aug. 18, there have been 115 H1N1-related deaths in California, according to the California Department of Public Health.


Nationwide, the Centers for Disease Control are reporting 7,983 hospitalized cases and 522 reported deaths.


In Lake County, three cases have been confirmed but there have been no deaths, according to Health Officer Dr. Karen Tait.


Mendocino County has been hit harder, with 12 hospitalizations in addition to the death.


“Unfortunately, it is anticipated that there will be more deaths and severe influenza illness throughout the United States and California before this pandemic ends,” Trotter said.


Officials have noted seeing a lot of H1N1 flu activity this year during the summer, which usually is down time for the seasonal flu. Trotter is concerned about more people becoming ill as the fall and winter months approach.


The Center for Disease Control (CDC) has stated that the H1N1 vaccine is scheduled to be allocated in mid October.


Prioritization guidelines will be issued by the CDC and the state as there may not be enough H1N1 vaccine for everyone. Mendocino and Lake counties are both developing vaccination plans to address the most vulnerable populations, based on CDC guidelines.


Officials urge people to take precautions to avoid getting sick: Cough and sneeze into your elbow or a tissue and dispose of the tissue after each use; wash your hands often with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer; avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth, even after washing your hands; avoid close contact with sick people; stay home from work or school when you are sick and don’t return until you have been free from a fever for 24 hours without any fever reducing medicine; and get your season flu shot.

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