California Department of Public Health Director Ron Chapman announced on Friday that the number of deaths related to influenza increased to 278 for the 2013-2014 season, and an additional 29 deaths are under investigation.
Chapman said six of the 278 deaths are pediatric.
CDPH said that by this time last year, the agency had received a report of 32 fatalities in people less than 65 years of age. For the entire 2012-2013 season, the agency reported a total of 106 deaths.
Chapman said the majority of influenza-related deaths in persons less than 65 years of age occurred in people with underlying medical conditions. He said that outpatient and hospitalizations have continued to decrease, but the influenza remains widespread this season.
"Even a single death from the flu is a tragedy," Chapman said. "The best way to prevent influenza is by getting vaccinated. The influenza season continues and it's not too late for vaccination."
People with the highest risk include the elderly, pregnant women, infants and people with other health conditions. Chapman said these people should see their health care provider as soon as they experience symptoms to receive the most effective treatment.
Counties with the highest number of deaths include Los Angeles with 36, Sacramento with 25, San Diego with 23, Fresno with 21 and San Bernadino with 19.