After a spike at the end of last year, the number of H1N1 flu cases in San Joaquin County – also known as the “swine flu” – appeared to be going down.
Until earlier this month.
According to the most recent numbers published by the San Joaquin County Department of Public Health Services, every case that was diagnosed during the seventh week of this year was H1N1 – which, when it arrived in 2009, caused panic as fears of a global pandemic rocked the healthcare industry.
While the entire world waits to see whether the novel coronavirus will penetrate the United States the same way that it has in Asia, the flu virus has killed more people this season that it did last year – which was at that time one of the worst in recent memory.
And by the numbers, the flu appears to be even deadlier for people young and old alike – a stark departure from last flu season.
According to statistics released by San Joaquin County, the flu this year has killed eight people above the age of 65, and one person below the age of 18 – both margins that didn’t exist last flu season.
The overwhelming majority of the people who have been killed by the flu in San Joaquin County are over the age of 65 – 8 of the overall 11 deaths have been in that age bracket – and five of the cases have been respiratory outbreaks.
Even though the number of positive cases this year has not reached the same levels of the 2016-17 flu season, the number of cases is trending upward at the steepest incline this season.
The San Joaquin County Department of Public Health Services recommends that people get vaccinated against the flu and take steps as routine handwashing, covering coughs and sneezes, avoiding contact with sick people, and avoiding touching your eyes, nose, or mouth while the flu season is in full swing. Health experts also encourage people to talk with their health care professionals about taking antiviral medications if they are sick and to stay home from work or school when ill to prevent illness from spreading.
Even though it’s still late in the flu season, according to experts it’s perfectly safe to get a flu shot this late in the year and still get one early in the next flu season as the type of influenza that the vaccine targets will likely be different.
For additional information, or to view San Joaquin County’s updated numbers, visit the San Joaquin County Department of Public Health Services website at www.sjcphs.org.
To contact reporter Jason Campbell email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 209.249.3544.