6 flu deaths in Kern County

Published 01/13 2014 07:39AM

Updated 01/13 2014 08:06AM

BAKERSFIELD, CA- Six people have now died of the flu in Kern County this month, as state health officials confirm the virus is widespread and growing.

The latest victim is Angela Gibson Fairchild, 54, who died Saturday.

There were no flu-related deaths this time last year.

Health officials say the H1N1 virus is hitting hard this year, striking down otherwise healthy young adults or middle-aged people

"This particular strain h1n1 hits that middle age group of the 40s and the 50s is what most of our hospitalizations are.," said Denise Smith the Director of Disease Control at the Kern County Public Health.

According to the CDC, the flu is now widespread in at least 35 states, including California.

Health officials say this time of year, hospitals usually see an influx of patients, but not this severe.

"More than half of those persons that had to have had hospitalized, they're having to require ventilators as a apart of the care they're receiving. So these are very sick people," said Dr. Claudia Jonah with the Kern County Public Health.

This year, only one person out of the 41 people that have been hospitalized in our county had a flu shot.

Doctors say this year's vaccines all contain ingredients to attack the H1N1 virus.

"It takes about two weeks for your body to build up the protection that you need after getting the vaccination. Please do so. Get your vaccination today," said Dr. Jonah.

People are suffering from a wide range of symptoms.

"People with just overwhelming shortness of breath that they can't really get any relief with. Fevers that they can't get control of. Body ache . Many people with nausea and some vomiting and diarrhea going on with some of the people," said Dr. Jonah.

Flu shots are available at the Health Department on Mt. Vernon avenue for nine dollars. For more information call the health department at 321-3000.

And there are other ways to prevent the spread of the flu.

Doctors want you to remember the three c's. Cover your cough, clean your hands and confine yourself at home if you are ill.

Copyright 2015 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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