SACRAMENTO – Dr. Ron Chapman, director of the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) and state health officer, announced today the number of confirmed influenza related deaths in the state has increased by 50 to a total of 95 confirmed deaths for the season. Three of the 95 are pediatric deaths. There are an additional 51 deaths under investigation, not yet confirmed.
“The increasing number of influenza related deaths points to the severity of this flu season,” said Dr. Chapman. “Vaccination is so important, because it continues to be the best defense against the flu.”
Influenza vaccine remains available and there is no widespread shortage of anti-virals for treatment of the flu. While hospitals have seen over the last few weeks an increase in the number of patients hospitalized, there is still bed capacity.
CDPH continues to closely monitor flu activity statewide and related resources.
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.
Dr. Chapman also notes that in addition to getting vaccinated, it’s important to practice good hand washing and other good health habits. People who are ill should take actions to stop the spread of germs such as:
· While sick, limit contact with others
· Cover your nose and mouth when coughing or sneezing
· Wash hands thoroughly with soap and water, or use an alcohol-based rub
· Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth
Those at highest risk – the elderly, pregnant women, infants, or those with other health conditions – who show flu symptoms should contact their physician immediately in order to get the most effective treatment. Symptoms include fever, cough, sore throat, runny or stuffy nose, muscle or body aches, headaches and fatigue.
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 reportscan be found on the CDPH website.