Increase in Influenza Activity
Seasonal flu [influenza] activity has been increasing dramatically across the United
States and areas of California over the past week. The cases have included young and
middle aged adults as well as those at high risk of serious illness and death. To date,
four flu linked deaths have been reported in California in persons less than 64 years
of age. Dean Kelaita, MD, County Health Officer, stated, “No flu deaths have been
reported in Calaveras County to date.”
It is still early in the flu season. The number of flu cases is expected to increase in
the coming weeks and months. The main flu virus strain being seen this season
is influenza A [H1N1]. This is the same virus that caused the 2009 pandemic. It is
included in the flu vaccine for this year. While increased seasonal flu activity is not
unusual at this time of the year local officials will continue to track the number of cases
and inform the public of unexpected increases.
Seasonal flu is a contagious respiratory illness caused by flu viruses. It can cause mild
to severe illness, and at times can lead to death. Flu viruses spread in droplets caused
by coughing and sneezing. They usually spread from person to person. Sometimes
people are infected by touching an object with flu viruses on it and then touching their
mouth or nose. Flu can be passed to someone else before you know you are sick, as
well as while you are sick.
The best way to prevent this illness is by getting a flu vaccination each fall. Dr. Kelaita
stresses the importance of annual flu vaccine to prevent illness. “It is not too late to
get vaccinated,” stated Kelaita. “Some people, such as older people, infants, young
children, pregnant women, people with compromised immune systems and people of all
ages with certain chronic health conditions are at high risk for serious flu complications,”
If you become ill with flu you should:
• Stay home.
• Avoid close contact with others when you are sick except to get medical care.
• Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing.
• Clean your hands often will help protect you and others from germs.
• Avoid touching your eyes, nose or mouth.
Most people are able to recover at home from flu without medical care but check with
your doctor or clinic if symptoms worsen.
Calaveras Public Health Services offers flu vaccine weekly on Monday afternoons from
3:00 PM – 5:30 PM and Thursday mornings from 8:00 AM – 12:00 PM. No appointment
is necessary. The cost is $16 per vaccine. No one is refused due to inability to pay.
Public Health will bill Medicare Part B for patients. The clinic is located at 700 Mountain
Ranch Road, Suite C-2, in San Andreas. Public Health also offers an immunization
clinic in Valley Springs on the third Tuesday of the month, 3:00 PM – 5:30 PM at the
United Methodist Church located at 135 Laurel Street. Local medical providers and
some pharmacies also offer flu vaccine. For further information, call Calaveras Public
Health Services, 754.6460 or visit our website at www.calaveraspublichealth.com.