Public health officials in California are reporting that the state’s total number of flu-related deaths (for persons under the age of 65) has reached 332 for the 2013-2014 flu season.
By comparison, the death toll for entire 2012-13 flu season was 106, according to the notification from the California Department of Public Health (CDPH). In fact, the department noted that by this time last year, it had received reports of only 47 influenza fatalities in persons under 65 years of age.
Only seven of the current flu season’s 332 deaths are pediatric, according to CDPH, and there are an additional 19 deaths under investigation which have not yet been confirmed.
The CDPH emphasized that “the great majority of reported influenza deaths in persons under 65 years of age have occurred in people with underlying medical conditions” and “Outpatient visits and hospitalizations are at or below expected baseline levels for this time of year.”
The CDPH urged those at highest risk — the elderly, pregnant women, infants, or those with other health conditions — who have flu symptoms should contact their physician promptly in order to get the most effective treatment.
According to the department, the flu vaccine remains available and there is no widespread shortage of anti-virals for treatment.
The CDPH will continue to closely monitor statewide influenza activity and resources, it said in the notification.