Via The Los Angeles Times: California flu deaths for those under 65 running far ahead of last year. Excerpt:
Influenza-related illness has killed 147 Californians under age 65 this season, including 17 people in Los Angeles County and one in Long Beach, state health officials have confirmed.
The toll is unusually high: At the same point last year, only 14 people in that age group had died of the flu, Dr. James Watt of the California Department of Public Health told reporters Friday.
Throughout the entire 2012-2013 flu season, the state logged just 106 confirmed deaths.
The new fatalities are a sign that this year's flu season continues to be especially severe, even as some indicators of influenza activity, such as hospitalizations for flu-related illness, seem to be plateauing in L.A. County, California and elsewhere across the U.S.
"Unfortunately, one of the things we always say about influenza is that it's unpredictable," said Watt, chief of the public health department's Division of Communicable Disease Control. "It's too early to say if this decline will be sustained."
The state confirmed 52 new deaths last week. Public health workers were investigating an additional 44 reported influenza deaths, most of which are likely to be confirmed in coming days.
"We expect the number to climb," Watt said.