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Six Flu Deaths In Bay Area Confirmed

The most widely circulating flu in the Bay Area is H1N1, which is included in this year's vaccine.

UPDATE: Thursday, Jan. 9, 2014
Wednesday's story by Bay City News Service did not include two flu deaths in Contra Costa and Santa Clara counties. The total Bay Area-wide is now six.

PREVIOUSLY:
By BAY CITY NEWS SERVICE

Two recent deaths in Marin County have been linked to the flu and another two in Santa Cruz County are suspected of being flu-related, public health officials said Wednesday. 

A 63-year-old man with significant chronic medical conditions died on Dec. 27, and a previously healthy 48-year-old woman died of an influenza-related complication on Jan. 6, Marin County Public Health Officer Dr. Matt Willis said. Both were hospitalized in intensive care, and neither had received a flu vaccine, Willis said. 

Six other flu patients, most of them young or middle-aged adults, have been hospitalized in the county, Willis said. 

There were also two suspected influenza-related deaths within the last two weeks in Santa Cruz County, a spokeswoman from that county's Public Health Department said. Both people were under age 65 and lab tests have not yet confirmed that the deaths are flu-related, the spokeswoman said. 

The predominant influenza virus nationally and in Marin County in the 2013-14 flu season is A H1N1, the same virus that caused the 2009-10 H1N1 pandemic, according to the Marin County Public Health Department. 

[Related article: Common Cold or the Flu? A Look at Flu Symptoms]

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention officials said the H1N1 virus continues to circulate widely, and illnesses are disproportionately affecting young and middle-age adults. 

Public health officials are urging residents to get a flu shot if they haven't already. 

This year's vaccine protects against H1N1 and other influenza strains. Other preventive measures include covering the mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, using tissues and discarding them in a trash receptacle, scrubbing hands often with soap and water, using alcohol-based hand cleaners, and staying home from work or school if you have flu-like symptoms.

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