LOS ANGELES (CBS) — Four flu cases have been confirmed this year in Los Angeles County, health officials said.
The three adults and one child have since recovered. All of the patients were from the San Fernando Valley and West Los Angeles, the Department of Public Health reported.
According to the county, three of the patients were infected with Influenza A H3N2, and the fourth had the H1N1 virus.
The cases mark the beginning of a flu season that can last as long as May, county health officials said.
County health officials said the cases should be a reminder for people to get a flu vaccination. Both strains of the flu that infected the four patients are covered by this year's flu vaccine, as is an Influenza B strain.
The county will begin offering free flu vaccine at clinics next week. Information on the clinics is available at www.publichealth.lacounty.gov.
Health officials particularly urge pregnant women, children under 5, adults over 50, people with chronic medical conditions and people in nursing homes or long-term care facilities to get vaccinated.
Influenza accounts for up to 200,000 hospitalizations and an average of 24,000 deaths in the United States each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control. Symptoms of the flu include fever, cough, headache and muscle ache.
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