Long Beach officials on Wednesday reported the first death associated with the flu this season, urging residents to get vaccinated as widespread influenza activity is seen in every county across state.
The patient who died was a man younger than 50 years old and had “underlying health conditions,” according to a Long Beach Department of Health and Human Services news release.
“This death is a serious reminder that flu can cause serious illness,” city Health Officer Anissa Davis said in a written statement.
Long Beach is seeing elevated flu activity compared to previous years, with a higher rate of emergency room visits for influenza-like illness, the city said in a December report.
There have been 54 confirmed flu-related deaths statewide so far this season, which runs from October through May, according to a California Department of Public Health report. There have also been 16 different flu outbreaks in California since September 2019.
Influenza B is the most common flu strain detected across the state so far, health officials said.
Los Angeles County’s first influenza-related death of the 2019-2020 flu season was reported in October, when a “middle-aged person with underlying health conditions” died in connection with the virus, the county Department of Public Health reported.
In the previous flu season, there were 125 flu-related deaths reported in L.A. County and 569 deaths across the state, with 60% of those who died being over the age of 65.
Officials recommended the flu shot for anyone 6 months old and older, and especially for young children, pregnant women, adults over 50 and those with chronic medical conditions.
“Getting the flu vaccine can prevent people from getting sick or may lessen the severity of symptoms for those who become ill,” Long Beach health officials said.
The CDC also recommends taking the vaccination annually.
Officials urged residents to wash their hands often, cover their mouths when coughing and stay home when sick.
Those looking to schedule an appointment for a low-cost flu shot in Long Beach can call the immunization clinic at 562-570-4315.
Los Angeles County also offers free flu vaccinations at different public health centers found here.