Is The H1N1 Flu Bug: 'A Super Virus'? Why Are People Dying?
FRESNO, Calif. (KMPH) —
We are not out of the woods yet!
That is the word from Fresno County Public Health officials about the 'flu' virus.
As of Tuesday afternoon, in Fresno County alone, fourteen people have died from the bug.
Another thirty-one people were admitted to intensive care units, and eight remain hospitalized.
In the state of California, at least 147 people have died from the virus.
The virus, which typically strikes seniors and young children, is now attacking and even killing young adults.
So, is it a more severe strain of flu, or has it mutated?
Fresno County Department of Public Health Manager, Joe Prado says, "There is some mutation with the strain from year to year, but majority of it is still the same strain, we saw in 2009."
Back then, the strain of influenza, known as H1N1, caused an outbreak that began in Mexico and swept the globe in just a few months.
Prado says, "However, we didn't have this many deaths in Fresno County back in 2009. So that is what we are concerned about. The severity is higher than it used to be."
So, why are more people dying?
Sara Bosse, in charge of Fresno County Department of Public Health Policy & Planning says, "Out of the 14 deaths that we've seen in Fresno County, 12 of then had underlying chronic conditions."
Prado adds, "The people that are getting sick have chronic issues, like diabetes, obesity, and smoking. So those individuals are having a hard time dealing with the flu virus this year."
Although the virus has not mutated to a deadly strain, the World Health Organization is concerned about some signs the virus is developing resistance to current treatments.
Doctors say Tamiflu is one of two medicines used against swine flu.
Just recently, the maker of Tamiflu said, it had reports of 13 cases of resistance worldwide.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention will continue to monitor the situation.
Although flu numbers have seemed to plateau a bit, we are not out of the woods.
Doctors say it's not unusual for a second, smaller wave of flu to hit the area.
That being said, doctors are advising patients to still get vaccinated, if they haven't already.