Sharp Rise in Flu Deaths in California: State Health Officials

The number of confirmed influenza deaths in California has hit 147, an increase of 52 from a week ago, according to the latest figures released Friday by the California Department of Public Health.

flu shot

A nurse practitioner prepares an influenza shot. (Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Health officials were investigating an additional 44 deaths as being possibly flu-related.

The total number of deaths due to the flu in California has exceeded the total from the 2012-2013 season, when 106 people died, according to the agency.

Los Angeles, Sacramento and San Bernardino counties have reported the highest amount of flu-related deaths this season, figures showed.

“This influenza season continues to be a severe one as the increasing number of influenza-related deaths indicates,” Dr. Ron Chapman, the department’s director, said on the California Department of Public Health’s website. “Once again I urge all Californians to get vaccinated, because it is the best defense against influenza.”

Officials noted it was not too late to get vaccinated, and that there was no shortage of flu vaccine.

The agency has also urged anyone considered to be at high risk — such as pregnant women, infants, the elderly and those with other health issues — to contact a physician immediately if they experience flu-like symptoms. Those include fever, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, body aches and fatigue.


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