Healthy Choices

Sacramento County’s death count from flu rises to 26

With two more people dead of the potent H1N1 strain of the flu in Sacramento County, county officials are setting up another free flu shot clinic on Thursday, this time in Citrus Heights.

The total number of local residents under 65 who died of influenza this season is now at 26, said Laura McCasland, spokeswoman for the county’s Department of Health and Human Services.

In addition, the number of people hospitalized in local intensive care units with influenza-like symptoms has risen to 110, McCasland said.

Sacramento County’s death toll from the flu far exceeds the number of dead that were confirmed throughout all of California this time last year. That annual toll, from the 2012-2013 flu season, equaled 18 people. Throughout California, there are more than 202 deceased from the intense 2013-2014 flu season.

Sutter County also reported its first death from the flu, and El Dorado County had reported at least two dead of influenza.

All reported and confirmed cases are limited to people under 65 years old because state law does not require data on people over 65.

Dr. Olivia Kasirye, the public health officer for Sacramento County, said “in light of the ongoing H1N1 reports of severe disease” the county will stage a free flu shot clinic Thursday from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Citrus Heights City Hall, 6237 Fountain Square Drive. This is the last planned free flu immunization clinic of the season, officials said. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention urge vaccinations for everyone over six months of age.

Information about the Sacramento County Immunization Assistance Program is available at (916) 875-7468.

The H1N1 influenza A virus has been especially strong this year, after a few years of low activity. It’s the same virus that circulated in 2009, sparking a worldwide pandemic that year, and back in 1918, sickening hundreds of thousands of people and causing mass deaths in what’s historically known as the Spanish flu.

Related stories from Sacramento Bee