Second and third flu-related deaths recorded

RIVERSIDE – A man and a 9-year-old girl from Riverside County who recently died have tested positive for influenza, making them the second and third flu-related deaths recorded this influenza season, according to the Riverside County Department of Public Health.

The man, a 63-year-old from an undisclosed city in western Riverside County, died during his hospitalization this week and tested positive for the H1N1 flu strain.

The girl, a resident of the middle portion of the county, died earlier this month from an influenza strain that has not been determined, said Barbara Cole, director of disease control for the county’s health department.

The names of the latest victims were not released.

Public health officials said underlying health issues may have contributed to their deaths but did not disclose what those issues were. It was not immediately known whether the man and the girl received flu shots.

News about the deaths comes roughly a week after Riverside County public health officials announced the first flu-related death of the influenza season, which began in October. A 30-year-old Coachella Valley man had died following a brief hospitalization, Cole said.

Twenty-one severe influenza cases have been reported since October, which required hospitalization in an intensive care unit. Four flu-related deaths in Riverside County were reported last flu season, Cole said.

Hand-washing and covering coughs and sneezes helps prevent the spread of the flu.

Those who are ill are encouraged not to go to school or work, public health officials said.

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