A man receives a flu shot in San Francisco

There were 147 flu-related deaths in California as of Friday according to the state’s health department, 10 times the number killed by this time last year. The flu is even striking young and healthy adults. Sacramento County has the highest number of flu deaths in the state so far, with 21 people under the age of 65 killed. We talk with experts about how to stay healthy this flu season, and about the effectiveness of this year’s flu shot.

Yvonne Maldonado, chief of infectious disease at Lucille Packard Children's Hospital
James Watt, chief of the Division of Communicable Disease Control at the California Department of Public Health

  • Guest

    I wonder how much of this year’s flu problem is due to human errors or even intentional mistakes. I recall a scandal a few years ago when it was discovered by European scientists that the US company Baxter Pharmaceuticals had in fact shipped large quantities of flu vaccine to 4 or 5 European countries that were contaminated with live avian flu virus. This kind of error is supposed to be prevented by multiple levels of safety checks at Big Pharma companies, but apparently was not at Baxter. Professionals commented at the time that such an error could not happen except by design and this led many to speculate that Baxter was trying to create a health crisis. However the mainstream media in the US largely ignored the scandal, as it does so many scandals that involve US corporations.

  • Diane Robinson

    Why is it so difficult to obtain statistics on how many infected victims of the flu have actually be vaccinated? In an email exchange with the California Department of Public Health, they claim that that information is not currently available. I would think that information would be easy to collect and report. Everyone assumes that a flu vaccine guarantees immunity from flu virus, but that is not necessarily true. Shouldn’t we be analyzing data to determine how truly effective the flu vaccine is?


    The current flu epidemic in the U S and many countries across the world started in the the year 2009 , the virus is H1N1 which causes what is called the swine flu . a related virus was the agent that caused the year 1918 flu pandemic which was called the Spanish flu which infected more than 500 million people worldwide and caused the death of more than 50 million people….Currently the swine flow is extremely contagious but much less deadly than the bird flu virus H5N1…This week one man died in China from bird flu which is so far is not easy transmitted between humans , however with the crowded conditions in China and elsewhere in the orient and the proximity of people and birds living in very close ,there is always a chance that the two virus combine to produce the H5N5 which will be extremely deadly and extremely contagious as well which when it happens will be the worst flu pandemic in history that may lead to the death of billions of people.

  • Sherri

    Would you please share the symptoms related to the flu?

  • Diane Robinson

    Patient can be asked upon intake!

  • Diane Robinson

    Case in point.

  • geraldfnord

    ‘Getting sick is just a part of life.’? Yes, it’s as natural as hemlock, losing a limb or a life to gangrene from a small cut,, and death in childbirth. My mother’s elementary school classes lost two to three children per year pre-vaccines—and their diet was closer to the ‘natural’ menu many anti-vaccine people seem to favour….

    Why do people seem to positively _need_ to believe that the natural world were good for them? We don’t have to believe that ‘Man’ must dominate ‘Nature’ at all times and in all things to note that Nature is not our fast friend—pangenitor is panphage, and if the natural world worked optimally for us, we wouldn’t have bothered going beyond it. Perhaps they believe that there were some sort of god looking out for us and creating a world inherently good for us; as unlikely as that sounds in the digger wasp’s world.

    • Milo

      The law of the jungle is not kind. Just look at that startup that just got hacked into. No socialism there to protect them either…

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