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This Year's Flu Season Milder Than Last on Central And South Coasts, But Danger Still Far From Over


Flu season is in full swing on the Central and South Coasts, but we are seeing fewer fatalities than we did last year. Ventura County Public Health Officer Dr. Robert Levin says the flu vaccine being used this season is a good match for the strain which actually developed around the world.

He says five influenza related deaths have been recorded in the county so far this season, as opposed to 40 last season.

The strain occurring this season is H1N1, better known to the public as “bird flu”. This particular strain is known hitting people in the prime of life, from childhood through 60.

Levin says even if you didn’t get a flu shot this season, it’s still a good idea. He says there’s still plenty of time left for you to get the flu. The doctor says it’s especially important for people in high risk groups. Some examples include those under five years old or over 65, those with heart issues, obesity problems, those who are pregnant or postpartum, and residents of nursing homes.

181 deaths have been reported statewide. That includes the five in Ventura County. None have been reported so far this season in Santa Barbara County. Levin says one of the things which leaves him concerned is people who decide not to get flu shots. The health official says it sets the stage for flu outbreaks.

You can still get vaccinations at doctor’s offices and pharmacies. They are also available through public health clinics on the Central and South Coasts.

Lance Orozco has been News Director of KCLU since 2001, providing award-winning coverage of some of the biggest news events in the region, including the Thomas and Woolsey brush fires, the deadly Montecito debris flow, the Borderline Bar and Grill attack, and Ronald Reagan's funeral. 
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