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Bad Flu Season Brings Two O.C. Deaths, Health Officials’ Concerns

HOLLYWOOD (KTLA) – Local and national health officials alike are warning about one of the worst flu seasons in recent memory.

In the past few weeks, all states except three — Mississippi, Hawaii, and California — have been dealing with widespread flu activity, and doctors now warn that by next week California will likely be added to the list.

The first warning by health officials is:  if you’re experiencing flu symptoms, keep them to yourself.  Stay at home to avoid infecting others.

The flu is clearly on the upswing here in Southern California.  More than a quarter of the flu cases in Los Angeles County reported for the current flu season were reported just last week.

And two people in Orange County have died from flu complications, a 55-year-old La Habra man and a 51-year-old man from Fountain Valley.

The Centers for Disease Control in Atlanta reports that 20 people under the age of 18 have died from flu complications.  Doctors say the current flu strain — the H3N2 virus  — is a particularly aggressive one.

Several states have seen double digit fatalities.  There have been 27 deaths in Minnesota and 22 deaths in South Carolina.

And in states like South Carolina, health officials report they are low on flu medications like Tamiflu, and some antibiotics are on back order.  Several states are reporting shortages of children’s Tamiflu.

Health officials say an earlier start to the flu season this year, combined with the nationwide attack of the very agressive H3N2 virus, has led to serious concerns.  They urge people to get a flu shot to protect against the virus.

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