EL PASO — The City of El Paso Department of Public Health announced Wednesday that a fifth person in the community has died after contracting the influenza virus.
Health officials pointed out that the 91-year-old man had critical underlying medical conditions. The previous four flu-related deaths involved women ages 83, 70, and 53, and a 12-year-old girl. All of whom had serious underlying health conditions as well.
“This is a very sad situation for the community, but we must continue to do our best as a community and as a Department to protect the health and safety of everyone in El Paso,” said Fernando Gonzalez, Lead Epidemiologist. “Even though the number of cases of flu is declining in our area, we cannot afford to forget that the virus is out there,” he added.
Reports of flu cases have decreased by 30 percent in the last several weeks, according to officials. In December, the Department received 1,704 reported flu cases, compared to 1,127 confirmed so far for January.
The flu season is expected to continue until April, which is why the Department continues to recommend vaccinations as well as the four C’s in order to prevent further illness in our community:
• CLEAN-Wash your hands often. Scrub your hands for at least 20 seconds with soap and water or use an alcohol-based hand cleaner.
• COVER-Cover your cough. Use a tissue to cover your mouth and nose when you cough or sneeze. Don’t have a tissue? The crook of your elbow will do.
• CONTAIN-Contain germs by steering clear of others who are sick. If you do get sick, stay at home until you’re well again so you don’t spread more germs.
• CALL-Call or see your doctor if you or your child has a fever greater than 100 degrees.
This season a total of 3,109 flu cases have been reported to the Department from October through the present, they said.
The Department would like to remind the public that flu vaccines are still available at our Immunization Health Centers located throughout the city. The cost of the vaccine is $10.00 for children six months to 18 years of age who qualify, and $35.00 for the general public. Please call (915) 771-5822 to check availability.
For more information on flu prevention, please visit the Department's website at:
http://home.elpasotexas.gov/health/seasonal-flu-information.php  and you can call 2-1-1 for information on flu vaccine providers.