2014-01-02 / Front Page

Nasty flu strain prompts warning

The county health department is urging local people to get flu shots in response to a particularly virulent strain of influenza.

County-administered flu shots are free, and available by calling 966-3689 to set up an appointment.

Nationally, health officials have reported that close to 90 percent of reported cases are caused by the H1N1 virus--also known as "swine flu."

"Sufferers often describe the illness as the worst sickness they have ever had," a statement released by county health officer Dr. Charles Mosher said. "There have also been reports of critical cases requiring life support--most of them between the ages of 30 and 65."

Locally, only one or two likely flu cases have been identified, but health workers vow to remain vigilent. The county health office recently gave a supply of flu-test swabs to John C. Fremont Hospital to use on patients without private insurance, Mosher said.

California state health officials have reported a significant number of cases in multiple counties. Getting vaccinated is the best way to both avoid getting sick, and to limit the illness's spread, California State Health Officer Ron Chapman said.

“A yearly flu vaccine is the most important step in preventing influenza," Chapman said. "It’s important to remember that unlike other vaccine preventable diseases, it is necessary to get a flu shot every year.” 

Mariposa County's health office has close to 200 flu shot doses left. They are free, and will be administered on a first-come, first-served basis, Mosher said.

"People are just trickling in," the doctor added. "We'd like to see more."


Marilyn Saunders received a flu shot at a county-sponsored clinic in October. Erik Skindrud / The GAZETTEMarilyn Saunders received a flu shot at a county-sponsored clinic in October. Erik Skindrud / The GAZETTE

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