State health officials reported Friday that deaths from influenza have reached 147, including four children under age 18. Another 44 deaths are under investigation, but not confirmed.
The total deaths so far this flu season, which started last September, eclipses the number from all of last year — 106.
As health officials have noted all month, the H1N1 strain is circulating — that’s the same strain that led to the pandemic in 2009-2010. Younger adults are at increased risk from H1N1. The theory is that adults over 65 were exposed to H1N1 decades ago and have retained some immunity. Younger adults were (presumably) never exposed so have no natural protection.
Health officials urged all Californians over age 6 months to get a flu shot. This year’s vaccine is well-matched to the circulating strains, health officials say. They urge people who believe they have the flu to contact their doctors immediately and ask about anti-viral medications.
KQED radio’s Stephanie Martin talked to health editor Lisa Aliferis about the flu. Learn more: