Kern County Has Second H1N1 Flu Death

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Dr. Claudia Jonah, Kern County's Health Officer announced today, the county's second H1N1 (Swine Flu) related fatality. A 31 year-old male with pre-existing medical conditions was hospitalized and died from complications associated with H1N1 (Swine Flu). Health officials will not be releasing the identity of the deceased.

"My staff and I convey our deepest sympathy to the family of the deceased," Dr. Jonah said. "As we know, H1N1 is present throughout our community, as it is throughout the world. The vast majority of cases have mild or moderate illness, and patients recover. Tragically, in this case, the patient did not recover."

This is the 167th person to die from pandemic (H1N1) 2009 flu in California. There have also been 19 hospitalizations in Kern County to date. The Kern County Department of Public Health is coordinating with state and federal agencies in conducting swine flu surveillance and implementing measures to lessen the impact of the flu virus.

"We expect that there will be more (H1N1) Swine Flu deaths throughout the United States and possibly Kern County, therefore, everyone should continue taking steps to prevent spreading and/or becoming ill with the flu, "cautioned Dr. Jonah.

Vaccine is now in production and may be available by fall or early winter. Residents can help prevent the spread of germs by practicing the three "C's" of disease prevention.

* Cover your cough

* Clean your hands

* Confine sick people at home

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If you are experiencing any of the following symptoms, we strongly encourage you to call your healthcare provider for instructions on the best way for you to visit their office or an emergency room in order to avoid exposing others to infection. Please DO NOT go to a hospital emergency department unless your symptoms are severe, such as:

* Having difficulty breathing or chest pain

* Developing blue or purple discoloration of the lips

* Vomiting that can not be stopped

* Dehydration; in adults dizziness when sitting up or standing, lack of urination and lack of tears when an infant cries.

* Onset of seizures

* Confusion or decreased responsiveness

People experiencing flu-like symptoms should stay home from work or school, limit contact with others and call their healthcare provider for advice. Those who are ill with flu-like symptoms, but do not have healthcare coverage, should call 211.

Beginning September 22, 2009, the Kern County Department of Public Health will provide weekly updates every Tuesday regarding new H1N1 (Swine Flu) activity in Kern County. The updates will also be made available via our website and by Media Alert bulletins.

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