Healthy Choices

Deadly flu season winds down in California

The latest weekly report from the California Department of Public Health paints a portrait of a flu season that’s wrapping up, with a total of 342 lab-confirmed influenza deaths of Californians under 65 years old.

Influenza activity in California is decreasing, state officials said, with the number of flu-related deaths dropping in the week ending March 15 from the previous week. Outpatient visits and hospitalizations have decreased, with less than five percent of clinical specimens testing positive for influenza.

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Of the total number of flu cases, a large majority tested positive for H1N1, the same virus that caused a worldwide pandemic in 2009. This season’s flu vaccine includes components to fight the H1N1 viral strain.

In the 2013-2014 season, Sacramento County officials reported 28 people under 65 dead of the flu; El Dorado County counted two dead of influenza and Yolo County reported one dead. State and local officials do not include people over the age of 65 in the official count, which they use to predict the flu’s spread among the general population.