WEDNESDAY, SEPTEMBER 28, 2016

California influenza-associated death toll hits 304

California Department of Public Health Director and State Health Officer Dr. Ron Chapman recently announced 24 newly reported influenza-associated deaths in persons under 65 years old during the 2013-2014 flu season, bringing the total to 302 this season.

Six of the 302 deaths are classified as pediatric. The CDPH is investigating an additional 19 cases of flu-associated deaths not yet confirmed.

The majority of cases involve persons with underlying medical conditions. For the season, the number of outpatient visits and hospitalizations are congruent with the CDPH's expectations for the flu season at this time of year. Reports of flu-associated deaths are higher this year than last - last year a total of 106 deaths were reported involving persons 65 years of age and younger.

"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," Chapman said.

Chapman recommends that anyone who has not yet been vaccinated do so immediately, especially those at higher risk of infection, including the elderly, pregnant women, infants and persons with underlying medical conditions.

People who experience an onset of symptoms, including body aches and high fever, are urged to seek immediate medical attention.