Categorised in: Health
CALIFORNIA — The death toll this flu season in California is climbing. State public health officials on Friday said the number of deaths related to the flu of those under the age of 65 is now 42, up from 27 deaths just last week.
The state Department of Public Health does not report flu-related deaths of those over the age of 65.
Some local public health officials in the state are reporting startling numbers when it comes to flu-related deaths. In San Diego County, 46 flu deaths were reported in just one week.
In Los Angeles County, 36 people have already died from complications of the flu compared to 13 at the same time last year. Emergency room visits due to flu are up 130 percent from last year, health department officials said.
California is one of 46 states that has reported a significant number of flu-related deaths.
Texas has more flu cases than any other state in the country, according to a map by the pharmacy Walgreens. Texas tracks adult flu deaths as a combined statistic with pneumonia deaths. So far this season, there have been 1,155 combined flu and pneumonia deaths and one flu-related pediatric death in the state.
Health officials urged the public to get the flu shot if they haven’t already done so.
“With the increase in influenza impacting many communities across the entire state, it is important to get a flu shot now if you have not done so already,” said Karen Smith, California’s public health officer. “Although influenza season usually peaks between December and February, flu activity can occur as late as May, which means it is not too late to get vaccinated.”
It takes about two weeks after vaccination for the body to respond fully. Vaccine effectiveness does vary for the different strains and year by year, officials said.
“Vaccination will prevent infection in a large number of cases. If disease does occur after vaccination, the vaccine can reduce the severity of flu symptoms,” Smith said. “Getting the flu shot is still the best way to protect yourself and others from flu.”