Three flu deaths reported in two Bay Area counties – SF Gate

Two people have died of complications from the flu in Marin County and one in Sonoma County, officials say.

The first fatality in Marin County occurred in the last week of November and the second in the first week of December. Both people were over age 65. Seniors are considered the most vulnerable to flu; in the past, deaths of individuals over 65 weren’t counted as they are so common.

Sonoma County Department of Health Services announced its first flu-related death on Wednesday. Details on the individual weren’t released.

The flu season has gotten off to an early start and numbers are at similar levels to 2009 during the H1N1 swine flu epidemic, according to the California Department of Public Health. Officials are urging the public to get a flu shot. Early testings of the primary flu strains reveal this year’s vaccine is effective against common strains.

“Flu activity is starting earlier than usual in California this season,” Dr. Sonia Angell, CDPH Director, said in a statement. “The flu shot protects you and those around you by making it less likely you’ll get sick if you’re exposed to the virus, and if you do get ill, you’ll tend to have fewer days of symptoms and they’ll be less severe.”

The state reports 24 flu-related deaths since September. Three of those deaths were school-aged children under the age of 18.

This story was updated on Dec. 19, 2019 at 9:20 a.m.

Amy Graff is a digital editor at SFGATE. Email her at [email protected]

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