Flu deaths in California rise to 302, but appear to be slowing

A sign advertising flu shots is displayed at a Walgreens pharmacy earlier this year in Concord, Calif.
(Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

The total confirmed deaths from the flu in California rose to 302 this week, as this year’s flu season continues to wane.

Twenty-four flu deaths were confirmed Friday, a drop from late January and early February when an average 50 people died each week.

This year’s flu season struck early, and appears to be on the decline. Outpatient visits continued to drop this week, according to the state. At this time last year, a total of 34 influenza fatalities had been reported. In the entire season last year, there were 106 deaths.


The deadliness of this year’s season is due in part to the predominant strain of flu: H1N1, or swine flu. It killed thousands of people in 2009, and tends to affect younger, healthier people more than other strains. Six of this year’s 302 deaths were children.

According to state data, Los Angeles County has had the highest number of deaths, with 44 confirmed.

People at the highest risk are the elderly, pregnant women, infants and those with other health conditions.

“The influenza season continues and it’s not too late for vaccination, which is still the best way to prevent illness and the spread of illness,” said Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health.

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