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A dead Riverside man and child test positive for influenza

Published On: Jan 19 2013 12:49:40 AM CST

Riverside County health officials are reporting a man and four year old child who recently died, tested positive for influenza. Officials don't know if the flu contributed to their deaths, but California is beginning to show signs of  heightened flu activity. Rob Bradley with the very latest..

RANCHO MIRAGE, Cali. -

 Dianna Drinnon of Rancho Mirage got the flu almost a month ago, and she's still on the road to recovery. "It was terrible," Drinnon said. "It was in my chest, in my head, hard to breathe. Thought it would go away then it came back again. It lasted about a month, couldn't talk for about almost two weeks."
     Dianna says she didn't even get the worst strain that's going around, and plans to get the flu shot soon so she doesn't.
     The Center for Disease Control(CDC) recently declared the flu is now widespread in California, meaning it's in over half the state. Even worse, it's predominantly the H3N2 strain, which causes a severe form of the illness.
     Gil Chavez M.D. works with the California Department of Public health. He explains, "In years when we have predominance in H3 strength, we tend to see more serious illness and more people being hospitalized, which really speaks to the importance of getting vaccinated."
     Flu related admissions to the emergency did see a one and a half percent spike last week in Riverside county. Doctors say since California has not yet seen its peak, it's not too late to get the shot.
     Professor Dean Blumberg is an Epidemiologist at UC Davis. He explains why it's so important to get vaccinated this year. "There is a good match between this year's flu shot and the circulating strain. That doesn't occur every year. It's guess work to decide what to put in the vaccines, but it looks like a pretty good match this year."
     Sharla Elzea is visiting the valley from San Francisco. She never used to get the flu shot, but says she learned her lesson. "I just find it's important because it does save me from getting sick as I'm traveling so yeah, it really does work. Years ago I never got it, the flu shot, and then decided maybe I'll just try it. It made all the difference because I did get the flu if I didn't get one."
     The Center for Disease Control recommends that everyone 6 months old and older receive a flu vaccination each year. You can get the shot through family care centers, pharmacies and physician offices.