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Flu outbreak widespread but may have peaked, officials report

Posted: Friday, Jan 11th, 2013

WATSONVILLE The flu outbreak has been much discussed around Santa Cruz County and the nation this winter, although one local health official said that so far, this is not a "severe flu season."

Other health officials are reporting that the flu is more widespread across the nation, but the number of hard-hit states has declined.

"There has been a lot of flu activity earlier but not more severe than in recent years in the U.S.," said Laurie Lang, senior health educator with the Santa Cruz County Health Services Agency. "Right now, influenza A H3N2 viruses are predominant. Typically, H3N2 seasons are more severe, with higher numbers of hospitalizations and deaths, but, so far, the numbers aren't showing a severe flu season."

"Also, California influenza-like illness reports from health care providers are within the normal range," Lang added.

Although there are no more free flu shots being offered by the county those were given in the fall by medical staff county officials are telling people it's not too late to get a flu shot.

"We have walk-in clinics Monday through Friday, from 1:30 to 4 p.m., at our north and south county offices," Lang said.

Those two health clinics are at 1080 Emeline Ave. in Santa Cruz and 9 Crestview Drive in Watsonville.

Lang said that flu shots at those locations cost $25, although there is no cost for people who are members of the programs Medi-Cal, Medicare, Healthy Families or Healthy Kids.

Lang recommends that residents go to the following Flu Vaccine Information site for more information such as phone numbers, vaccine information and to put in your zip code to find out where to get a flu shot: www.santacruzhealth.org/Flu/vaccine.shtm

For the complete article see the 01-12-2013 issue.

Click here to purchase an electronic version of the 01-12-2013 paper.

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