Madera County reports flu-related death; Valley toll 38

The Fresno BeeFebruary 28, 2014 

A flu vaccine shot is administered to a patient at the American Legion Hall in Fresno during a flu vaccine clinic Thursday, January 31, 2013.

CRAIG KOHLRUSS/THE FRESNO BEE — Fresno Bee Staff Photo Buy Photo

Madera County health officials on Friday reported a third influenza-related death of the season.

Van Do-Reynoso, Madera County's director of public health, said the latest flu death was a man in his 40s, who died in December. He had no health conditions that put him at higher risk for complications from the flu, she said. It could not be confirmed whether he had received a flu shot this season, she said.

So far this flu season, 38 people in the central San Joaquin Valley have died. In addition to the third death in Madera: Fresno County has had 22 deaths, Kings and Merced counties have each had five deaths and Tulare County has had three deaths.

On Friday, state health officials said 302 deaths statewide have been confirmed as influenza-related and 19 more were under investigation.

By this time last year, the state had received reports of only 34 flu deaths in people under 65 years of age. For the entire 2012-13 flu season, there were 106 deaths.

Hospitals in California are required to contact county health departments about influenza deaths of children and adults under age 65.

Health officials say flu season can continue through May and it's not too late to get flu shots.

Those at highest risk -- the elderly, pregnant women, infants or those with health conditions such as asthma, heart disease, immune compromised -- who get symptoms should contact a doctor to get the most effective treatment. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.

The reporter can be reached at (559) 441-6310, or @beehealthwriter on Twitter.

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