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California

L.A. County officials report first flu death of season

flu vaccination
A patient receives a flu vaccination in Los Angeles. Health officials confirmed the first flu death of the season this week.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

Los Angeles County health officials this week reported the first death from the flu in the county this season, which runs from October through May.

The patient who died was a middle-aged person with underlying medical problems, the L.A. County Department of Public health said. Two flu deaths were reported earlier this month in San Diego County.

“This is a sad reminder that the flu can be a serious illness, especially for the elderly, young children and people with weakened immune systems,” L.A. County Health Officer Dr. Muntu Davis said in a statement. “I would like to remind everyone that, even if you’re healthy, you can still get seriously sick from the flu and spread the illness to others.”

Health officials recommend the flu shot to anyone 6 months old and up to protect against influenza.

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The flu season typically picks up in California in late November or December, and it takes two weeks after vaccination for the shot to take effect.

“Getting vaccinated is the best line of defense against flu,” said acting state public health officer Dr. Charity Dean in a statement. “Vaccination will help you stay healthy for work or school, avoid visits to the doctor or hospitalization, and protect others from coming down with the flu.”

In the most recent season, 569 people in California died of the flu, 60% of whom were over the age of 65, according to a report from the state Department of Public Health. More than 100 people died in L.A. County alone last season.


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