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First Flu Death Reported in Silicon Valley

An elderly person is said to have succumbed to contagious influenza virus.

First Flu Death Reported in Silicon Valley First Flu Death Reported in Silicon Valley First Flu Death Reported in Silicon Valley

The Santa Clara County Public Health Department is confirming that one death has occurred in an elderly person as a result of the contagious influenza virus.

Amy Cornell, a spokeswoman for the department, said someone over the age of 65 had died Tuesday.

In a press conference this afternoon at the Health Department, Dr. Martin Fenstersheib, the department's health officer, answered questions from the media about the death. 

Cornell said local health officials have not issued any warnings or announcements about the amount of flu cases in the area, but explained the department posts on its website a weekly report on the flu.

When asked if the local area's flu season is worse this year than in years' past, Cornell answered, "No, not at this point."

Earlier this month, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported influenza activity was continuing to increase in the United States and most of the country was experiencing high levels of influenza-like-illness (ILI).

"Reports of influenza-like-illness (ILI) are nearing what have been peak levels during moderately severe seasons," said Dr. Joe Bresee.

The CDC said it was continuing to recommend influenza vaccination and antiviral treatment when appropriate.

“While we can’t say for certain how severe this season will be, we can say that a lot of people are getting sick with influenza and we are getting reports of severe illness and hospitalizations,” Bresee said on Jan. 4.

"Anyone who has not already been vaccinated should do so now,” said Bresee, who is chief of the Epidemiology and Prevention Branch in the CDC’s Influenza Division.

"And it’s important to remember that people who have severe influenza illness, or who are at high risk of serious influenza-related complications, should get treated with influenza antiviral medications if they get flu symptoms, regardless of whether or not they got vaccinated."

"Also, you don’t need to wait for a positive laboratory test to start taking antivirals."

—This post will be updated as more information is released today about the death by the Santa Clara County Public Health Department.

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