Health

Tuesday, Jan 14 2014 06:22 PM

Flu death toll rises to eight

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    By AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis

    This Oct. 17, 2012 file photo shows a flu shot administration.

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By THE BAKERSFIELD CALIFORNIAN

Kern County's influenza death toll rose by one to eight Tuesday, according to the Kern County Department of Public Health Services.

The department didn't release the age and gender of the person who died nor of those newly reported as sickened. Spokesman Kim Rodriguez did say that of the eight who died, four had not been vaccinated and it was unclear whether the other four had had a flu shot.

As of Tuesday, 58 people had been hospitalized with flu-like symptoms in Kern County this flu season, according to public health officials.

Of those, 39 were critical enough to be sent to the intensive care unit, and 31 had been placed on a ventilator.

Fourteen were confirmed to be infected with the H1N1 strand of the disease, which disproportionately affects young and middle-aged people.

Twenty-two were discharged after treatment.

Public health officials encourage the public to get a flu shot. Rodriguez pointed to an interesting list on the Centers for Disease Control website of those people particularly vulnerable to flu-related complications:

* Children younger than 5, especially younger than 2

* Adults 65 and older

* Pregnant women

* American Indians and Alaskan Natives

* And people with medical conditions including:

-- Various neurological and neurodevelopmental conditions

-- Chronic lung disease

-- Heart disease

-- Blood, endocrine, kidney, liver and metabolic disorders

-- Weakened immune system due to disease or medication

-- Those younger than 19 receiving long-term aspirin therapy

-- Those morbidly obese (body mass index of 40 or greater)

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