H1N1 Flu Hits Hard With 147 Dead So Far in California

Monday, February 3, 2014
By Paul Martin

by Donna Westlund
February 2, 2014

Flu-related deaths in the state of California number 147 so far this season, reported the Director of the California Department of Public Health, Dr. Ron Chapman, on Friday. This number does not include an additional 44 deaths that are currently under investigation as being flu-related. If those cases are confirmed, the number of deaths due or related to the influenza virus in California residents under the age of 65 will rise to 191.

The 2012-2013 flu season logged 106 flu deaths, a total that has been reached this flu season in only one month. Whether the severity of its cases makes California an outlier is not fully known, because states are not obligated to report flu deaths to the CDC. A spokesman from the Center for Disease Control (CDC) said states and counties collect their data differently, implying that if data is collected in different ways, then collating it becomes more difficult.

The primary strain of influenza circulating in California and responsible for the 147 deaths there is H1N1, a strain of influenza A known as “swine flu.” In 2009, H1N1 caused a nationwide pandemic. Since the pandemic, it has continued to circulate as a seasonal flu virus, but never so widely as it has this season, according to the CDC. Measures were sought out to improve influenza monitoring after the 2009 pandemic, and it became required for counties in California to report all flu deaths in people under age 65.

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