sanbernardino-thumb1The San Bernardino County Department of Public Health reports that there have been an additional six deaths from the H1N1 virus, now bringing the total to 17 for our county this year. Dr. Maxwell Ohikuare, the County’s Public Health Officer, notes that each of these patients had underlying health conditions and, he says, “The deaths occurred during the past three weeks, and included two females that were 22 and 26 years of age, three 41-year-old males, and one eight-year-old female.” These 17 deaths are among the 248 confirmed pandemic influenza cases the County has reported to the State. A limited supply of H1N1 vaccine has been available in San Bernardino County but, due to delays in the national production and distribution process, Dr. Ohikuare announced today, “We may not have enough vaccine for everyone who wants it until January 2010, depending on the accessibility through the government.” At this time, the only H1N1 vaccine available in San Bernardino County is the intranasal FluMist, which has a live but weakened form of the virus. Those encouraged to get this vaccine include healthy children ages two to 18 and healthy household contacts (up to age 49) who care for infants less than six months of age. Individuals in these priority groups can get the vaccine through some health care providers, or via a Public Health clinic by calling 800/722-4777 to make an appointment. In the meantime, others are encouraged to wash hands often; avoid touching eyes, nose and mouth; cough or sneeze into a tissue or your elbow; avoid contact with sick people; and stay home from work or school if you have flu-like symptoms.