San Joaquin County has reported its first deaths from the swine flu virus this year.
A 5-year-old girl from Stockton and a 34-year-old man from Lathrop died within the past two months, according to the county Public Health Services Department.
The state laboratory recently confirmed that the 5-year-old was a confirmed case of pandemic swine flu, also known as the H1N1 influenza. Meanwhile, the 34-year-old tested positive for influenza A by a PCR diagnostic test, according to Public Health. He is presumed by the state to be a swine flu victim since testing shows that only the swine flu influenza virus is circulating in California.
County health officials expect that, due to the new strain of the swine flu virus, influenza in the community will greatly increase in the fall and winter during the normal influenza season.
"While this pandemic (H1N1) influenza strain is similar in terms of severity compared to the normal seasonal influenza strains, there will be a greater number of people sick in the community due to the presence of the additional pandemic H1N1 influenza strain," county Public Health Officer Dr. Karen Furst said in a news release.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, H1N1 influenza has caused greater disease burden in people younger than 25 years of age than in older people.
Underlying high-risk medical conditions include pregnancy, asthma, diabetes, suppressed immune systems, heart disease, kidney disease and neurocognitive or neuromuscular disorders, according to the Centers for Disease Control.
Sometimes people may become infected by touching a surface or object that is contaminated with influenza viruses and then touching their eyes, nose or mouth, medical authorities say.
Symptoms of swine flu include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches, headache, chills and fatigue. Some people may also have diarrhea and vomiting.
If you are sick with influenza-like illness, CDC recommends that you stay home for at least 24 hours after your fever is gone except to get medical care or for other necessities. Keep away from others as much as possible, and cover your mouth and nose with a tissue when coughing or sneezing. Put your used tissue in the waste basket. Then, wash your hands or clean them with a hand sanitizer every time you cough or sneeze.
If you have severe illness or you are at high risk for influenza complications (including if you are pregnant), contact your health care provider.