News


New flu deaths in Santa Clara, San Mateo counties

A second person has died in Santa Clara County from influenza, and the first deaths in San Mateo County and San Francisco were also reported by county health officials on Jan. 9.

The number has now risen to 9 deaths Bay Area-wide, health officials said.

A 61-year-old man died of H1N1 influenza in Santa Clara County this week, Santa Clara County health officials said. The man had underlying medical conditions. His is the second flu death reported in the county this season. A 41-year old woman died from H1N1 in December.

In addition to the two deaths confirmed from H1N1, 12 cases of severe flu have been reported to date in Santa Clara County this flu season, and six were confirmed to be H1N1; one was Flu B. The remaining strains were not confirmed, county officials said.

In San Mateo County, a woman in her 40s died, becoming that county's first flu-related death of the season. There have been six other flu-related hospitalizations in the county, health officials said.

The H1N1 influenza strain, known as "swine flu" when it first emerged in 2009, appears to be the main strain afflicting people this flu season. Peak flu season is between January and March. Health officials are urging vaccinations for everyone ages 6 months and older. This year's vaccine protects against H1N1.

"The fact that we are seeing an increase in flu activity, flu-related hospitalizations and deaths should motivate us to take action now and get a flu shot to prevent the most serious effects of the flu," said Dr. Scott Morrow, Health Officer for San Mateo County.

Deaths and hospitalizations related to H1N1 occurred in other Bay Area counties.

One person died around the end of December in San Francisco, Department of Public Health spokeswoman Colleen Chawla said.

A 23-year-old Sonoma County resident died Wednesday after contracting the H1N1 strain of the flu. Eight other flu cases have led to hospitalization, Sonoma County Health Service assistant director Tammy Moss Chandler said.

In Alameda County, the first and only flu death of the season so far occurred the week of Dec. 22, county public health department spokeswoman Sherri Willis said.

A death in Contra Costa County reported this month was confirmed to be flu-related earlier this week, according to health officials. The 48-year-old woman who had underlying health conditions died after she was infected with the H1N1 virus.

There have been 17 flu hospitalizations in that county so far this flu season.

In Marin County, there have been two flu deaths this season, health officials said. A 63-year-old man with chronic medical conditions died on Dec. 27, and a healthy 48-year-old woman died of an influenza-related complication on Jan. 6, according to Marin County Public health officials.

More information is available at the California Department of Public Health website, www.cdph.ca.gov/HEALTHINFO/DISCOND/Pages/H1N1Prevention.aspx.

Comments

 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 10, 2014 at 8:51 am

It's at times like this that our schools' policy really wrecks havoc with our kids' health.

I have one teen who has been fighting a cold/flu all week but refuses to take more than a few hours off school because of getting behind. Even not feeling well, our kids can't take it easy because of due dates on homework assignments and if they do take a sick day they then end up with double homework on the first day back to catch up.

I wouldn't be at all surprised to see a flu epidemic at our high schools because the kids won't ease off to look after their health.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by homework
a resident of Downtown North
on Jan 10, 2014 at 9:13 am

Teachers should be willing to email homework assignments to students that are home sick. Or get the assignments from friends in class.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by CrescentParkAnon.
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 10, 2014 at 9:57 am

The Palo Alto Patch had mention of a healthy 23 year old that died from this flu. That's a little concerning.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2014 at 11:43 am

Hmmm is a registered user.

That's because certain 'flu strains target those in the 20-40 age range, similar to the Spanish 'flu epidemic, IIRC. Other 'flu strains affect the very young and our elders. That's why it's helpful to find out which strains are emerging for the season and getting a 'flu shot if possible.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Downtowner
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 10, 2014 at 12:18 pm

Most H.S. teachers do post assignments online, easily accessible.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Sick of it
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Jan 10, 2014 at 12:41 pm

Ah yes - home sick with the flu, but you're supposed to be working on your homework. That is not rest.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 10, 2014 at 1:02 pm

I suppose teachers who are home with temps of 101, feverish with shivers and headache, and unable to eat anything are sitting at their computers doing homework!

I am not complaining that the kids can't get their homework, but they are sick and can't be expected to get it done, or expected to do double to catch up when they are still not well. They are returning to school before they have fully recovered and are rewarded with extra work!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by midtownmom
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 10, 2014 at 1:19 pm

Please keep sick kids at home - no matter the academic pressures. So many people complain that "school policy" puts pressure on the kids to perform academically, regardless of impact on health and well-being. By allowing a sick kid to attend school, a parent is only perpetuating the cycle and allowing a sick kid to get sicker and infect other kids with the unreasonable goal of keeping his/her child's grades up and not rocking the boat. I have a high school student at Gunn and we have yet to receive any pushback from a teacher when requesting leniency due to health reasons. Parents and students can play an important role in the school policy if we actually try.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Wife of M.D.
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 10, 2014 at 1:32 pm

Paly Parent: You didn't vaccinate your child with the flu shot this season? Yes, perhaps he caught a strain which was not included in this year's shot. Yes, PAUSD academics are rigorous, but that's why you moved here, right? I agree it's a shame that depending upon classes, our children don't have much time to rest if they are ill; this will just spread viruses due to ill children attending class.

Every year, I take my children to PA Medical Foundation, which has fast and efficient flu shot clinics. There are signs and staff everywhere directing people where the flu shot clinic is located. It's so efficient that there is hardly a wait each year. Many times, we've been in and out in 10-15 minutes.

I just spoke with someone who claims the flu shot will give him the flu - not true at all! The flu shot is dead flu virus so cannot make one sick with the flu. To those who wish to take their chances and bypass the flu vaccine, here's an article about common flu vaccine myths: Web Link


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 10, 2014 at 2:16 pm

This is wonderful.

I don't get sympathy, just more rhetoric about why I moved here and flu shots.

I got the same stuff when I complained about a child who was throwing up with stomach flu, or perhaps food poisoning, in the fall. As far as I know, flu shots have nothing to do with gastroenteritis. Although this last dose is probably flu, the principle of having to catch up homework and get back to school before being fully fit so as not to fall further behind is a serious one. A student does have to decide whether to do the right thing and stay at home when sick even though it will probably affect grades and is hard and gets very little support from teachers. I had the same issue after hospitalization and surgery a few years back when teachers sent work to be done - even while still in the hospital!

Our kids are just expected to deal with extra pressures when sick and in this town get no sympathy. We moved here to be close to a job before kindergarten. We looked at house prices v commute and the commute won!

The tiger mentality in our schools is beyond the Pale!


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Paly Parent
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 10, 2014 at 2:24 pm

And by the way, clever clogs wife of a MD, we have had flu shots and still get bad colds. It is hard to tell the difference between a cold and flu, and bad colds still spread germs around in school. And I do try and keep germs at home and not spreading but germs are everywhere at school, in the bathrooms, on door knobs, on computer key boards, and yes, I feel a little mad right now.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2014 at 2:28 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Currently at PAMF, there aren't 'flu shot clinics. However, if your doctor is there, they can order the vax for you, and you're given instructions on where to go for it at PAMF. This also ensures maximum insurance coverage, if applicable, since it's preventive care.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by healthy new year
a resident of Menlo Park
on Jan 10, 2014 at 2:37 pm

Usually when you have the flu, you feel really sick and are too exhausted to do anything. It's not a matter of choosing to do homework or not. That said, I think it's up to parents to ensure that their kids get adequate rest while they recuperating. Sending sick kids to school puts everyone else at risk and increases that chance that your child's illness will develop into something even more serious.

I agree with midtownmom that parents and students need to advocate for leniency on homework expectations for health reasons. It's unreasonable to expect to be able to catch up on everything that was missed. It's just too much work on top of an already heavy workload.

One last point, a flu shot doesn't guarantee that you won't get the flu. Efficacy rates for any particular strain depend on many factors including overall health, stress levels, and time of vaccination relative to time of exposure to that strain of flu, to name a few.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2014 at 3:14 pm

So if 9 have died so far this flu season, how does that compare to previous years? Is it a little worse, a lot worse?


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Mr.Recycle
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 10, 2014 at 3:20 pm

to answer my own question, so far in California 35 people under 65 have died from the flu. Last year, for teh full flu season 105 people under 65 died from the flu. 35 is worse than normal, but not dramatically.

It is irresponsible to you, your family, and the community not be vaccinated, so just do it.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jan 10, 2014 at 3:30 pm

Hmmm is a registered user.

Do bad colds kill people, though? Well, if the person gets a secondary infection, sometimes.

I had a 'flu shot last year and didn't get sick at all. Most 'flu shots address multiple strains, so they're pretty darn effective. Given that this 'flu is hitting a LOT of people in this area, and many are being hospitalized, it makes absolute sense to get the 'flu shot.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by A Noun Ea Mus
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 11, 2014 at 2:23 am

If we get a repeat of the 1918 flu pandemic....this could be a political opportunity to...

reign in big pharma and force them (nationalize to whatever extent needed) so that they stop wasting resources on more me-too drugs and instead try to both develop drugs to fight actual diseases and agents AND to have a coherent strategy (the bacteria is here to stay and mostly our friends)

Eradicate the concept that health care is a for-profit business once and for all. When the profit motive infestation of our healthcare is someday exposed for the travesty it has unleashed...

Obmacare will look like a conservative approach and one that was too little and too late. Time to catch up with the NHS of Great Britain, nevermind just the Canadian system. The legal and established corruption is too entrenched for anything else.

that day will come and the lessons are already primed. It's not just the capitalists who drool at using disasters to further their agenda.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Pegasus Grounded
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Jan 12, 2014 at 4:18 pm

My PCP at PAMF told me that ALL vaccines in the US come from the same source. Also that the CDC has to decide what strains will be in the mix when the vaccine is made, and many times they have to guess at it, months in advance, and often guess incorrectly.

Perhaps there should be more choices in vaccine suppliers, to prevent shortages, as we have now, and to provide competition for better price and quality. As it is, we are stuck with whatever we get, and, like now, they often underestimate demand. Potency of vaccine is also an issue.

Last year, I became dangerously ill from a virus I had been vaccinated against ( confirmed by PCP and mucus test), and it was so severe that Tamiflu did not work. Ended up in hospital.because my throat swelled so severely I could neither eat! drink! or breathe! But I have a beauty of a scar on my neck to show for it! I look like the victim of a violent crime now. Better quality vaccine would have prevented this, and my doc agrees.


 +   Like this comment
Posted by Rupert of henzau
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 12, 2014 at 4:31 pm

"My PCP at PAMF told me that ALL vaccines in the US come from the same source. "
Your PCP does not know what he is talking about
Web Link
Web Link ( scroll down for all the sources of vaccine. You can also read about their differing composition)

"Last year, I became dangerously ill from a virus I had been vaccinated against ( confirmed by PCP and mucus test), and it was so severe that Tamiflu did not work. "
Sounds just like this person:
Web Link
"Posted by Impotent, a resident of Midtown
2 hours ago
Np, I had the actual flu, confirmed by the doctor with a "snot sample". Spent ten days in bed each time with very high fever, swollen throat, vomiting ( a cold does not make you vomit, and is over in <5 days). Tamiflu worked for some, but not for the last two."

"Better quality vaccine would have prevented this, and my doc agrees."
Considering how your doctor does not know about the different vaccines available, I would consider a new doctora s a first step.


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