Two new swine flu deaths were reported in the Bay Area on Tuesday, bringing the flu-related death toll in the Bay Area and Santa Cruz County to 18, health officials said.
A San Mateo County resident was reported to have died Tuesday, the third fatal flu case on the Peninsula this season, officials said. And earlier in the day, Solano County officials reported the area's first swine flu death, a Vallejo man in his 40s with a chronic medical condition.
"The Vallejo resident was in his 40s and had chronic medical conditions that put him at risk for severe illness. We offer our deepest sympathies to his family and friends," said Dr. Bela T. Matyas, Solano County Health Officer and Social Services Deputy Director.
Of the three flu-related deaths reported in San Mateo County, two were confirmed cases of swine flu, and two had underlying medical conditions, said Robin Thaw, spokeswoman for the San Mateo County Health Department. County health officials would not release further information regarding the identities and medical histories of the victims.
In all, the nine Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County have reported 18 flu-related deaths. Santa Clara County reported four deaths, Alameda County reported three, Marin and Sonoma counties reported two, and San Francisco and Contra Costa counties have each reported one death. There have been no deaths reported in Napa County, officials said.
Santa Cruz County officials initially reported two deaths last week, but on Monday said only one, the death of a 50-year-old man, had been confirmed as being caused by swine flu. Two others in the county are so far only suspected to be flu-related deaths.
Because the state requires reporting of influenza deaths only in people younger than 65, the number of flu-related deaths could actually be higher. That age requirement began after the swine flu pandemic of 2009-10, when 203,000 people died worldwide, including more than 600 Californians.
H1N1 appears to be the predominant strain this flu season, causing concern because, unlike other strains, it can result in deadly pneumonia even in young, healthy people. Sonoma County officials said a 23-year-old man who had no underlying health problems died of the H1N1 virus, and a 54-year-old with underlying conditions had also died.
After reporting a temporary shortage of adult flu vaccines at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center Oakland, hospital officials on Monday said Kaiser received 20,000 additional doses from suppliers and expected to receive more than 40,000 additional doses this week. Since flu clinics opened in September, Kaiser has administered more than 1.2 million doses of flu vaccine throughout its hospitals in Northern California, according to a hospital statement.
A corporate spokesman for both CVS and Walgreens has said that some stores had run out of the vaccine and encouraged people to call in advance to check on availability.
In all, the nine Bay Area counties and Santa Cruz County have reported 18 flu-related deaths this season as of Jan. 14, 2014:
Alameda County: 3
Contra Costa County: 1
Marin County: 2
Napa County: none
San Francisco County: 1
San Mateo County: 3
Santa Clara County: 4
* Santa Cruz County: 1
Solano County: 1
Sonoma County: 2
* Santa Cruz County isn't included in the official designation of nine Bay Area counties.