California’s Deadliest Flu Season In A Decade Claims Dozens

The deadliest flu season to hit California in a decade has already claimed dozens of lives, and state and local health officials Wednesday urged residents to get vaccinated as the outbreak ramps up.  Statewide since October, 27 people under the age of 65 have died from the flu compared with less than four during the same time last year. When seniors are included in the count, the flu appears even deadlier. For example, 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.What-You-Should-Know-for-the-2014-2015-Flu-Season“This appears to be one of the worst seasons we’ve had in the last 10 years,” state epidemiologist Dr. Gil Chavez told reporters. “We’re early, and we’re trending up.”

Some national experts predict this could be one of the worst flu seasons ever. Some states such as Arizona have already experienced a 758 percent increase in flu infections over this time last year, and the Centers for Disease Control reports the flu is also widespread in 46 states, including California, CNBC reported.


According to the Los Angeles Times, the especially virulent strain of influenza A known as H3N2 is to blame. The strand is known as the “Aussie flu” because of the record number of people sickened by the virus in Australia, the newspaper reported.


“A single influenza infection can cause serious health problems,” said Dr. Jeffrey Gunzenhauser, LA County’s interim health director. “It’s less likely for those without chronic diseases, but it’s still a possibility. And also everyone should realize that if you do develop the flu, you can spread it to others, including your family members, coworkers and others in the community. So for those reasons, we really encourage everyone six months of age or older to get the vaccine.”


Health officials statewide said people who experience flu symptoms — fever, chills, sore throat, muscle aches, headaches or nasal congestion — should contact their doctor. They also stressed the need for people to stay home from school or work if they get sick.


Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:   AP
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