Tuesday, January 17 , 2017, 3:34 pm | Mostly Cloudy 62º


Local News

Four Flu-Related Deaths Reported in Santa Barbara County

Four flu-related deaths have been reported in Santa Barbara County this season, and there has been an increase in flu activity, according to the Public Health Department.

Every case involved an individual older than age of 60, and three out of four deaths were in people older than age 80, said Susan Klein-Rothschild, a department spokeswoman.

The county also has seen an increase over the previous week in the number of people in hospital emergency departments with influenza-type illness, and local hospital labs have reported testing more patients with rapid tests than the last week, she added.

“We have ongoing surveillance of emergency departments, some labs and some medical providers in the community,” Klein-Rothschild said. “It is not all providers reporting to us.”

The county is in the middle of the peak season for flu, and the Public Health Department encourages everyone to take precautions, including getting vaccinated, practicing good hand hygiene, and covering coughs and sneezes.

San Luis Obispo County has reported three flu-associated deaths within the past few weeks, public health officer Dr. Penny Borenstein said.

She said the flu could have contributed to other medical issues the people had, and the actual causes of death are being reviewed by the county coroner. All three cases — people ages 38 to 90 — had positive test results for the flu.

“The only mandated reporting up to the state is for deaths for individuals younger than 65, so that’s the information we release publicly,” she said. “The numbers of total people testing positive has been up in the last couple of weeks. This is a bit of an earlier peak; it’s usually more into February or early March, so it has been slightly earlier and slightly steeper as to the number of cases.”

Santa Barbara County public health officials say the symptoms for the flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills, fatigue, and sometimes diarrhea and vomiting.

Young children, elderly people and pregnant women are among the high-risk groups for serious flu-related complications.

Noozhawk staff writer Giana Magnoli can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

Support Noozhawk Today

You are an important ally in our mission to deliver clear, objective, high-quality professional news reporting for Santa Barbara, Goleta and the rest of Santa Barbara County. Join the Hawks Club today to help keep Noozhawk soaring.

We offer four membership levels: $5 a month, $10 a month, $25 a month or $1 a week. Payments can be made through PayPal below, or click here for information on recurring credit-card payments.

Thank you for your vital support.

Reader Comments

Noozhawk encourages free expression, regardless of viewpoint, but requires that such expressions be civil in tone, respectful of other commenters and relevant to the stories on which they are posted. We reserve the right to remove any comment for any reason.

By posting on Noozhawk, you:

» Agree not to submit a comment that is abusive, defamatory, disrespectful, illegal, libelous, profane, vulgar or disparaging (whether on the basis of disability, ethnicity, gender, nationality, race, religion, sexual orientation, traits with which people are born, or otherwise).

» Agree not to submit a comment that attacks or threatens another person, threatens or promotes violence, wishes for harm to befall another person, invades another person's privacy or proprietary rights, or uses expletives (including veiled profanity).

» Agree not to stalk or harass another person, dominate the conversation, discourage participation by others, or bait, belittle, bicker with, mock or taunt others.

» Agree not to solicit others. You agree you will not use Noozhawk’s forums to solicit and/or advertise for personal blogs and websites, without Noozhawk’s express written approval.

» Comments with spam or self-promotional links are not allowed. Comments that include links are automatically routed to a Pending queue. Regularly checking it is not a priority of ours.

Daily Noozhawk

Subscribe to Noozhawk's A.M. Report, our free e-Bulletin sent out every day at 4:15 a.m. with Noozhawk's top stories, hand-picked by the editors.

Sign Up Now >