Flu season claims two more lives in Stanislaus County and an infant is seriously ill


Two more adults have died from the flu in Stanislaus County.

The county Health Services Agency said the seasonal flu claimed the life of a 41-year-old man who had no underlying medical conditions. The man, whose name was not released, died Wednesday.

The other death was a 57-year-old man who succumbed to the illness Sunday. It was the third flu-related death reported in the county since the flu season began. The 57-year-old man had a history of health problems, the county health agency said.

Health officials also were concerned about a local infant with flu-like symptoms that was transferred to a hospital intensive care unit outside the area.

“Stanislaus County, like much of the state, is experiencing a more serious flu season compared to last year,” said Dr. John Walker, county public health officer. Residents were advised to get a flu shot to protect themselves, unless they have severe allergies to the vaccine.

The child’s serious illness emphasized the importance of flu vaccinations for pregnant women and family members of children less than 6 months old, Walker noted.

The flu epidemic in the state claimed the life of a child in Riverside County, according to the California Department of Public Health. Influenza is widespread across the state and more severe than last year. Fourteen flu-related deaths, including adults younger than 65 and the Riverside County child, have been reported to the state.

State officials believe the death toll is considerably higher, as fatalities involving seniors are not reported. Hospitals in different areas of California have seen a surge of influenza patients.

Patient admissions for seasonal flu are higher than usual at Memorial Medical Center of Modesto. “We have had a consistent daily census of 10 to 15 patients receiving treatment for influenza symptoms since the beginning of January,” said Craig Baize, a spokesman for Memorial.

Kaiser Permanente hospitals in Northern California are seeing the highest rate of flu and pneumonia hospitalizations in 10 years.

To keep from spreading the illness, residents were advised to wash their hands frequently, cover coughs and sneezes, and stay home if they are sick. Stanislaus County’s public health clinic at 820 Scenic Drive in Modesto has flu shots for low-income residents starting at 8 a.m. weekdays. The clinic is open until 7 p.m. Tuesdays and Thursdays.

Ken Carlson: 209-578-2321, @KenCarlson16