Health & Medicine

7 people have been hospitalized with flu in SLO County, officials say

No deaths from the H1N1 flu virus have been reported in San Luis Obispo County, but seven people have been hospitalized, said Dr. Jim Beebe, lab director for the county Public Health Laboratory.

“All of them have been shown to have the 2009 influenza A pH1N1 strain,” he said.

The seven hospitalized people are of all ages, ranging from one 9-year-old to two people in their 70s, Beebe said.

Beebe said that it’s difficult to gauge how widespread the flu is in San Luis Obispo County because health officials rely on reports from local hospitals and health care providers, “but there definitely is widespread transmission in the state,” he said.

Beebe said it’s not too late this flu season to get vaccinated and urged residents to do so if they haven’t already. He said this year’s vaccine is well matched with the strains of influenza that have been detected.

“The important thing for people to realize is, influenza can be a deadly virus,” he said. “The season is likely to continue until April, so if you get vaccinated today, two weeks from now you’re covered. Even if you do get influenza, it will be less severe.”