H1N1 flu case confirmed for Bakersfield

Pull out your hand sanitizer as the flu season is in full swing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the infection is popping up in several states.
BAKERSFIELD, CA-- Pull out your hand sanitizer as the flu season is in full swing. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the infection is popping up in several states. Last week a Kern County doctor says one case of H1N1, a very serious strain of flu, was confirmed here in Bakersfield. That has prompted one local doctor to say we might be on the verge of an outbreak.

In 2009 H1N1 made headlines as the CDC says it infected 52 million people worldwide and may have been responsible for hundred of thousands of deaths. There is one confirmed case in Bakersfield and Los Angeles has seen two hundred cases so far. That worries Dr. Royce Johnson from the Kern County Medical Center.

“We could be at the point of an influenza outbreak again," Johnson said.

So far Texas has been the hardest state hit with five confirmed deaths from the H1N1 strain also known as swine flu.

"The majority of hospitalizations for influenza occur in people 65 years and older and the majority of deaths in that group,” said Dr. Michael Jhung, a Medical Officer with the CDC. “But, we know that H1N1, this particular influenza virus does cause more infections in younger adults."

Johnson says there are certain types that need to be extra cautious.

"Pregnant women, persons with asthma, young people all told and young people that have higher body weights," Johnson said.

Health officials say if you haven't gotten a flu shot, you still can.

"Every formulation of vaccine that you can get this year will protect against H1N1 and it will also protect against other influenza viruses that we think are circulating," Jhung said.

Health experts recommend simple steps you can take to stay healthy.

"Try to avoid crowds, maybe not go to that post Christmas shopping and wash your hands and cover your cough,” Johnson said.

Officials say if you are already noticing symptoms go and see your doctor the quicker the better.


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