Flu season turns deadly in Lane County

The first flu death this year in Lane County has been reported.

Posted: Jan 16, 2018 11:07 AM
Updated: Jan 17, 2018 9:30 AM

Eugene, Ore. -- The flu season has turned deadly in Lane County. Public Health Officials said one person has died and seven outbreaks have been reported.

Dr. Patrick Luedtke with Lane County Public Health said the flu happens every year, but what is new this year is there is a strain that's affecting most of the country.

Luedtke said the peak for the season is just around the corner. He said right now the state is facing epidemic levels of the H1N1 strain.

He is encouraging people to get vaccinated because he said this year there is a new blueprint to the flu known as the H3N2. While the new strain has not hit Oregon, Luedtke said the strain has caused an epidemic of the flu virus in 46 of the 50 states.

"The concern is there is H3N2 out there circulating that doesn't match perfectly with the vaccine so people will have partial H3N2 coverege," he said. "If they get sick from influenza in this season, there is a pretty good chance it will be H3N2."

In Lane County, 40% of adults have been vaccinated, according to Luedtke.

"I think it's important to make sure that people know that the vaccine is out there," he said. "Washing your hands and covering your cough and sneeze is helpful and we're protecting others not just ourselves and our family. 

Luedtke said in past years there has been a vaccine shortage, but this year that is not a concern.

If people have not been vaccinated yet, he recommends getting the vaccine at the clinic, hospital, pharmacy or free clinic.

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