Bay City News Service
Bay Area public health officials said Saturday that three people have died from flu symptoms in the Bay Area this season and warned that cases of the flu are rising statewide.
The latest to succumb to the flu were two homeless men, both 58 years old, whose separate deaths on Jan. 11 and Jan. 13 were tied to the virus, said Dr. Marty Fenstersheib, health officer for the Santa Clara County public health department.
The three Bay Area fatalities, which include a 98-year-old woman who also died in January, upped the flu's death toll in California to 14 since the 2012-2013 season began in November, Fenstersheib said.
In the meantime, cases of the virus this season, which normally peak in February, are still increasing, Fenstersheib said.
"The state has reported that all the trends are upward. We have not peaked in California yet, at this point," he said.
Three other people were recently treated in emergency rooms in the area for severe flu symptoms and all survived, Fenstersheib said.
The health department asked hospitals throughout the area about flu complaints and said, "everyone has seen an increase in people coming in the emergency department," Fenstersheib said.
He emphasized the importance of getting vaccinated, saying that the current vaccine, approved by the national Centers for Disease Prevention and Control, "is a good match" against this year's flu strains.
The predominant type of flu for the 2012-2013 season, which is expected to peak this month, is called Influenza A N3H2, an unusually virulent strain, according to the Atlanta-based CDC.
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