Flu deaths in California reach 147 this season
State health officials reported Friday that flu deaths in California have reached 147 this flu season, with an additional 44 deaths under investigation as likely flu-related. Four of the confirmed deaths were of children.
Seventeen deaths occurred in Los Angeles, 13 in San Bernardino, five in Orange County, five in Riverside, three in Long Beach and one in Ventura.
The total deaths thus far this flu season surpass the entire total of 106 recorded in 2012-2013, officials said.
“This influenza season continues to be a severe one as the increasing number of influenza-related deaths indicates,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health. “Once again I urge all Californians to get vaccinated, because it is the best defense against influenza.”
One reason this season has been so deadly, officials said, is that the primary strain of influenza circulating is “swine flu,” also known as H1N1.
There is no shortage of available vaccine, officials said. In a news release, state officials urged people to visit a flu vaccine location to get immunized. They also noted that some local health departments may also offer free or low-cost immunizations. The state health department website also offers more information on influenza and other respiratory disease surveillance reports.
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