Flu Cases and Deaths Continue to Rise

Flu Cases and Deaths Continue to Rise

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UPDATE: The number of flu deaths in California has doubled in one week. Last week, there were 45 confirmed deaths. This week there are 95.

The 95 confirmed influenza-associated deaths this season have been reported by the following counties:

Alameda (3), Contra Costa (3), El Dorado (1), Fresno (5), Humboldt (1), Kern (4), Kings (3), Lassen (1), Long Beach (1), Los Angeles (8), Marin (2), Mendocino     (1), Merced (3), Monterey (2), Nevada (1), Orange (4), Riverside (3), Sacramento (10), San Bernardino (7), San Diego (6), San Francisco (1), San Joaquin (3), San Mateo (3), Santa Barbara (1), Santa Clara (7), Santa Cruz (1), Shasta (1), Siskiyou (1), Solano (1), Sonoma (3), Stanislaus (3) and Tulare (1).

The total number of deaths reported for the entire 2012-2013 influenza season was 106.

There are another 51 cases under investigation to determine if flu was the cause.

Visit a flu vaccine location near you to get immunized. Some local health departments may also offer free or low-cost immunizations. More information on influenza and other respiratory disease surveillance reports can be found on the CDPH website.

Influenza cases continue to climb in So Cal.   Today Children's Hospital Los Angeles reported a 30 percent increase in confirmed flu cases in its emergency department over the past week.

So far, 42 children have been hospitalized. Other hospitals say they, too , are seeing more flu patients in their emergency rooms. 

And it's not just Los Angeles getting hit with a serious flu season.

As of last week, California had 45 deaths confirmed from the flu this season  according to health officials .  That's an increase of 38 over the period of a week. 

"The great majority" of the newly confirmed patients who died had not received a flu shot said state epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez during a phone call with reporters last week.

Two of the new deaths occurred in children, and the state is investigating an additional 50 suspected flu fatalities, reported recently by counties, that "are likely to be confirmed by next week," Chavez added.

The degree of flu activity is unusually high for this time of year, he said.

"For the entire last flu season we received a total of 106 deaths," he said. "Knowing that we have 45 confirmed and 51 under investigation — that's 96 right there, and we're still not at the peak of the season. "

Los Angeles county had four of the confirmed flu deaths, which includes one of the pediatric cases.

L.A. County health officials say they believed there had been a total of 11 flu deaths in the county thus far this season. All the adults who died  were suffering from  medical conditions that put them at higher risk.

Many of the cases are the virulent H1N1 variety, also known as swine flu, which is known to sicken the young and healthy.

This year's influenza vaccine contains H1N1 protection, and health officials are reiterating their call for all Californians to get vaccinated.

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