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MISSION VIEJO (CBSLA.com) — Emergency rooms across the Southland have been pushed to near-capacity levels amid a surge of influenza activity in the western United States that has lead to several flu-related deaths.
A Mission Hospital official has confirmed that a 46-year-old woman who tested positive for influenza A died on Tuesday.
The mother of two, who reportedly did not receive the flu vaccine, appeared to be otherwise healthy, officials said.
While flu activity is declining across much of the United States, its toll is just beginning to emerge in the West.
Statewide, there have been at least five people who have died from the flu this season, including two in the greater Los Angeles area and one in the Inland Empire, according to California health officials.
KNX 1070′s Jan Stevens reports one Mission Viejo doctor is warning the vaccine may not protect everyone.
“I’ve admitted a few patients that were quite ill and actually had gotten the flu shot and tested positive for the flu,” Dr. Jim Keany with Mission Hospital said.
However, Keany said that particular case is not enough evidence to convince him the vaccine is ineffective.
“We know that when people get the flu shot, the intensity and the duration of the illness is shorter and less,” he said. “You’re less likely to be hospitalized, you’re less likely to get the complications, such as pneumonia, and you’re less likely to die from the flu.”
Tamiflu can be an effective prevention option, Keany added, but it must be taken within 24 to 48 hours of the onset of symptoms.