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Flu cases on the rise in San Francisco and statewide

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This year’s flu vaccine is a good match for the currently circulating influenza strains, officials say. - BEBETO MATTHEWS/AP
  • Bebeto Matthews/ap
  • This year’s flu vaccine is a good match for the currently circulating influenza strains, officials say.

This year’s severe flu is hitting the country hard, causing local medical experts to warn people to take extra care to prevent the spread of the virus.

California’s Department of Public Health said in a statement last week that there’s an “accelerated increase in flu activity” and it’s not too late to get vaccinated.

“The best defense against the flu is getting vaccinated. This year’s vaccine is an excellent match against this year’s influenza strains,” said Ron Chapman, director of the state health department. “Our flu season may not peak for several more weeks, so I encourage everyone to get vaccinated to protect not only themselves, but those with whom they come into contact.”

The flu season typically begins in November and lasts through April, said Dr. Tomas Aragon, San Francisco’s health officer. But the number of cases in California has begun to rise in January.

Aragon said that as a result, he and other health officials across the state want to encourage everyone to be mindful of spreading the flu. Washing your hands, coughing into a sleeve and staying home when feeling sick all help to prevent the spread of the virus.

San Francisco has also seen an increase in flu cases, Aragon said, noting that it’s impossible to get an exact number of cases because not everyone seeks medical attention.

“For those that are seeking help, about one in five is testing positive for influenza,” he said. “It is picking up.

Everyone should be aware and it’s not too late to get vaccinated.”

akoskey@sfexaminer.com