COUNTY — As influenza activity increases nationwide and in San Luis Obispo County, the County Public Health Department reminds residents to take common-sense precautions to protect themselves and the community from the flu. This reminder follows a recent increase in local laboratory-confirmed cases of influenza and the death of one San Luis Obispo County resident from complications of the flu. The resident was over age 60 and had several underlying conditions that make people more vulnerable to severe complications of influenza.
“This is a sad reminder that flu can be very serious,” said Dr. Penny Borenstein, Health Officer of the County of San Luis Obispo. “We extend our sincere sympathy to this patient’s family and ask everyone to help play a part in reducing the spread of flu in our county. We can all take steps to protect ourselves and our most vulnerable neighbors.”
Health officials report that the vast majority of flu cases confirmed in SLO County this winter have been the same strain of H1N1 that was predominant in 2009. This strain is covered in the flu vaccine.
“We’re fortunate today to have a vaccine that provides protection from this serious illness,” said Dr. Borenstein. “We encourage everyone to take advantage of this protection.”
Health care providers are not required to report all cases of influenza, so the Public Health Department does not track exact numbers of cases.